Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Spotlight: Rush (Phoenix Rising #3) by Joan Swan + giveaway!

Hey guys! We've got an excerpt and giveaway today for Joan Swan's newest release. I read this one last week and LOVED it. Check it out and let me know what you think. ~Anna
Jessica Fury, Washington lobbyist, has money, connections, and her own firm. But five years ago she had something better: happiness. Her firefighter husband, Quaid, was handsome, courageous, and crazy about her. Then one day he walked into a chemical inferno—and never walked out. Jessica has been through hell to get back on her feet. And then a rumor surfaces that could bring a miracle or shatter her world – again.

Q has been a prisoner forever. He’s honed his mind and body into weapons. He’s developed abilities no one else understands. But he’s still at the mercy of a cabal of ruthless men, who blank his memory, test him like a lab rat, and tell him lies. Although his past has been erased and his future looks grim, instinct tells him he has a woman to live for. What his mind can’t remember, his body can’t forget…

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The car slowed and Q tightened every muscle in preparation. For what, he had no idea. He was working completely on the fly here. But with no past to remember and no freedom in his future, he had nothing to live for. And with nothing to live for, he had absolutely nothing to lose.
He picked up the scent of salt through the air vents and grew restless to feel the direction of the wind, to listen for animals, vehicles, planes, voices. Anything to give him a better feel for their new location. Nearing Salt Lake—definitely. But how close to the city?
“I have to take a piss,” he said.
“Keep your dick on,” Ice Man Green growled from the front seat.
“He speaks,” Q said. “Thought you’d had a coronary.”
“You wish.”
“Hell, yes.”
The engine cut out and all four doors clicked open. Q sucked in the air—dry, hot, salt-laden. And thin. They were in the mountains of Utah above Salt Lake.
“What’s this place? Not one of your rat labs. I’ve been to them all.”
Facts about the Salt Lake area clicked through his mind. There was no government testing facility that he knew of in this area, so unless they were going to use some private laboratory they’d cooked up like Colombian drug runners . . .
His mind took one of those bizarre hairpin turns, the ones it made whenever he stumbled upon information he had no way of knowing, but did. And the endless questions followed: Was he from Colombia? Had he worked in Colombia? Did he have relatives in Colombia? How did he know Colombia had a drug problem? Why did the phrase “Colombian drug runners” roll off his tongue?
And the questions were inevitably followed by doubt. What kind of man would know such people? Who was he to be so well acquainted with such behavior? Had he harmed others in his involvement with or knowledge of these people?
Ultimately, all the questions boiled down to one: Was this information leaking into his conscious from his stolen past life or his hidden present one?
That uncomfortable ripple up the back of his neck continued over his skull. The scars there caused the skin to stretch unevenly and pain burned across each thin, raised line.
Q pushed the useless musings away. He’d save those for the long hours he spent alone, caged—or, if he succeeded in the next few moments, running. To make that happen, he forced his mind to the present.
Pike hooked a hand around Q’s bicep and pulled him across the bench seat. The other three started toward a building several yards away. He knew the structure was there by the way sound traveled around it, by the way the atmosphere felt denser in that direction. Sure enough, their feet pounded up wooden steps, then strolled along a deck and inside over wooden floors. He detected no other presence—no other voices, no other movement, no other body heat. They were alone. As for technology, he sensed no fences, no all-terrain vehicles, no helicopters, not even a garage on site. He heard no buzz of high-tech security systems, no electrified boundary, no listening devices, no satellite dishes, not even a damn two-way radio system.
No props—aside from the weapons, of course.
Now, Q let a smile tip his mouth.
It was one against four.
His best odds ever.
“I really have to piss.” Q kept his voice low so the others wouldn’t hear. “Come on, Pike, just show me a tree.”
“Can’t you wait?”
“They’re going to take forever to case the house.” And every moment lessened Q’s chances.
The nearly inaudible swoosh of Pike’s skin against his shirt meant he was contemplating the request as he turned his attention toward the house. Pike let out a frustrated breath just before his feet crunched mulch. He pushed Q toward a thick copse of trees—pines by the density, size and scent.
“Make it quick,” Pike said. “I don’t need Green chomping on my ass.”
Q pulled the bag off his face, let it rest on his forehead. He didn’t want to toss it to the ground and snap the filament of Pike’s good will. He squinted, allowing his eyes to make the adjustment.  He’d been right—pines. But they were interspersed with aspens. The round gold leaves of the thinner, white-trunked deciduous trees shimmered in the hot fall air. The sight of them pulled at something inside him. He walked toward the copse, wondering if the natural beauty he so rarely experienced at the concrete prison and industrial testing sites caused this longing in his chest or if it was something else.
Reaching out, he fingered one of the beautiful leaves and found it surprisingly soft and supple. Nothing sparked in his mind. But nothing ever did. The only way he’d ever learn anything about himself was to get away from these people.
Without moving his head, Q surveyed the area, gaze keen, hearing perked. One small cabin-style structure sat on the secluded property, covered in trees as far as Q could see—which was damn far. A hawk screeched overhead. Something small rooted nearby. By the distance they’d traveled on dirt and gravel roads, Q guessed he was two hundred miles from any type of civilization.
Didn’t matter. He didn’t need civilization. He’d been jailed in a ten-by-ten concrete box forever, exposed only to Gorin, the psycho scientists’ assistants, Castle guards and Cash—his lifeline for the last three of Q’s unknown number of years at the Castle.
Please get Cash to his family.
Q let the prayer float out to the universe as he unbuttoned his jeans with his left hand, leaving his weaker arm in the sling he always wore. He hadn’t needed the aid for months, but the guards didn’t know that. Gorin still thought he’d permanently disabled Q’s entire right side. It was weak, yes, but not completely worthless.
In his peripheral vision, Q saw Pike look back at the cabin, hands on hips, sport coat pushed back, revealing the standard-issue Glock nine in his belt holster.
The sight of the weapon made something click in Q’s mind. As quick as he shut down his emotions, something else clicked off, too. Something he couldn’t explain or describe or even understand, but internally, he went cool, hard and sharp.
Now or never.
Before the thought had dissipated, Q was moving. He pivoted, raised his good elbow and whacked Pike in the cheekbone.
Q shifted within time and space until he had a strange sense of being slightly removed from his body . . . yet, not. Pike’s head jerked sideways, eyes closed, spittle flying, arms flailing. Q felt himself reach out. Felt the butt of the weapon in his hand. Felt his bicep tense and jerk the weapon from Pike’s holster.

For an extended instant, Q stood over the unconscious Pike, gun in hand. The steel-cast stranger inside Q tensed his finger on the trigger. If the man lying at his feet had been any of the other three, Q would have let whatever this instinct was take over. He would have emptied the gun into the bastard’s brain. Since it was Pike, Q turned toward the trees and ran.

So, what do you think? Gonna give this one a try?
Have you read Joan before?

Joan Swan writes sexy romantic suspense for Kensington (Phoenix Rising Series) and independently (Covert Affairs Series).  She also works as a sonographer at a top medical facility in San Francisco and lives in magnificent wine country on the central coast of California with her husband and two daughters.

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There are 2 giveaways going on. One here on the page and then one on Joan's FB page. 
Be sure to check out both if you're interested. I'd love to hear what you think even if you don't enter!

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