Wednesday, August 14, 2019

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Altered by Vicki Stiefel - Book Tour + Giveaway



Altered
Vicki Stiefel 
(The Made Ones Saga, #1)
Publication date: August 12th 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

The Eleutians are dying out, one female at a time. To save their species, the powerful Alchemic Clan conscripts women from parallel worlds, altering them into the perfect breeding stock.
Kitlyn, a retired circus equestrian broken in both body and spirit, awakens on a strange world in her own much-younger body. She has been transformed into a Made One, but the gift of youth and the promise of a new life come at a terrible price.
Rafe, the Wolf Clan’s warrior champion, vows to find the cause of the species’ decline. He’s certain the Alchemics’ bid to save the Eleutians is but a thin veneer masking a dark purpose.
That vow becomes hard to keep with the threat of an inter-clan conflict and the arrival of the proud Made One named Kitlyn.
To save herself and those like her, Kit must carve a dangerous path in this new reality and make a choice that may cost her her freedom, her life, and the life of the Eleutian warrior she’s come to love.

Excerpt
Rafe stared down at the six-foot length of ice melting beneath the sun’s warmth. Not fast enough. Dropping to one knee he examined the thing again. Encased in the ice lay a woman, clothed head to toe in golden-yellow, lying on her belly, one arm outstretched. Dead.
His heart thundered. A tragedy of epic magnitude. 
Even so, he would never leave a Made One in her icy prison. 
The laseblaster would release her in seconds, but it would damage her flesh, and that he wouldn’t do. The task called for delicacy. 
Rafe’s strapped-on claws ripped apart the icy upper layers, then he slowed, taking care not to hurt her flesh. Gradually, the woman emerged as auburn-haired and lovely, her face heart-shaped, with high cheekbones and plush lips, and he somehow knew she smiled often. Had smiled often. 
He worked with even greater care, unwilling to injure her, though she was long gone. Intolerable. He paused, panting, vapored puffs bursting from his lips. He wanted to touch her. Badly. But if he did so, her iced flesh would confirm the truth, no matter how much his heart wished otherwise.
Clouds darkened the sun, and it began to snow again. Fark. He’d better move it. Once she was fully revealed, her thin gown clinging to her lush curves, he shucked off his coat and wrapped it around her. 
An inhuman cry sliced through the keening wind, maybe fifty yards to the east. He settled her over his shoulder and began his descent.
At the very least, she deserved a pyre to guide her way to the Other land.
Three-quarters of the way down the cliff, an arrow zinged by his cheek. Shote. Those farking goddarts. He returned fire, clamped the woman tight to his chest, then plunged the remaining distance. 
Fark! 
A jutting rock sliced his arm, making him tumble out of control, trees, mountains a blur. One, two, now—he flipped, landing with a thud, knees bent, and dashed behind the hovercraft, narrowly avoiding the goddarts’ lethal “stings.”
A long, calming breath later, he slid inside the hover, placing the Made One onto the passenger seat with care. Once settled in the driver’s seat, he wrapped a kerchief around his bloody bicep.
Thunk. Thunk. Pause. Thunk.
Fark those creatures and their poisonous arrows. Even if they never left the mountains, they caused destruction wherever they went. Fark them. Fark them all.
The adrenaline receded, and his shaking hands fisted. This wasn’t the goddarts’ fault. They hadn’t killed her. Those shoting Alchemics, screwing up the coordinates, had done so.
The snowstorm’s intensity increased, his climbing rope flapping in the wind. No way to retrieve it now, so he punched the start button, his craft rose, and he turned up the heat. Though chilled, he was unwilling to remove his coat from the Made One. He punched the nav’s Home button and sighed.
His lids grew heavy, and he leaned back in the seat and stretched out his legs. But like a fished reeled in by an angler, the Made One drew him. One more look. 
She was lovely, and so easy to picture alive. He’d bet she’d been determined, with that strong chin and bold, aquiline nose. But her wide, plush mouth softened her—he could almost see her welcoming smile and the sparkle in her eyes when she did so, eyes that would never again light.
Had she been unbending or pliable? Both, perhaps. Yes, a woman firm in her viewpoints. Stubborn, even. Yet she’d laugh easily and embrace others with warmth. Her curls might be frozen, but he imagined them springy and soft. 
The Fates. He was a practical man, pragmatic even. What was he doing, spinning stories about a dead woman?
He leaned back and pumped up the heat. After a couple swigs of warming troff, Rafe fell asleep as the hover took him home.

Kit opened her eyes. Leaden weights of exhaustion dragged at her lids, melted her muscles. Movement felt near impossible. Someone had wrapped a shearling coat around her. She was dry, and the chill was leaving her bones, her brain slowly coming back online. 
Everything felt strange. Even the air smelled odd with a scent she couldn’t identify. 
Where was she? 
Fuzzy memories of being in a pool, climbing to a cliff top, then…nothing.
Heat pumped from somewhere, warming her. Soft leather cushioned the fingers of one hand. Cool glass chilled her cheek. Except the window was convex, the world outside blurred by a raging snowstorm. 
Absurd. She feared moving as if she’d shatter the spell enthralling her. But snow? In August? Winter came early in Maine. But not that early.
The dense pine forest slipped by, yet even through the storm, she glimpsed huge peaked mountains rearing in the distance, far larger than the ones of Acadia. 
Fine. She was in a strange place that most definitely wasn’t Maine. In winter. In a car. Ergo, she wasn’t alone.
She inched her head far enough left so she could spy on the driver.
He was a large man with muscles bulging beneath a long-sleeved t-shirt. Thirtyish, perhaps. The blowing heat blew wisps of tawny hair that had loosened from his braid. The smile lines fanning from his eyes softened his hawkish nose and the bladed cheeks carving his tanned and weathered face. A striking man.
Who was he and where was he taking her?



Author Bio:

Vicki's fantasy romantic suspense series, The Afterworld Chronicles, launched with Chest of Bone, followed by Chest of Stone and Chest of Time. She is currently pounding the keys on her series' fourth novel, Chest of Fire, and the first in a new series, The Made Ones Sags: Altered.

Her mystery/thrillers include Body Parts, The Dead Stone, The Bone Man, and The Grief Shop, a Daphne du Maurier prize winner. All feature homicide counselor Tally Whyte. All are available as ebooks.

She co-wrote (with Lisa Souza) and photographed the 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters. With her late husband, William G. Tapply, she ran The Writers Studio workshops in creative fiction.

Vicki taught fiction writing and modern media writing at Clark University.

She loves both a well-crafted sentence and unlocking the doors of a student's imagination.

She grew up in professional theater and planned to become an actress, with a bent for song and dance. She didn't. Instead, she's been a professional photographer, a high-school teacher, a hamburger slinger, a scuba-shop manager, and an editor.

She's Blake's and Ben's mom, her favorite role of all.

Her passions include scuba diving and fly fishing and knitting; photography and movies; vinho verde and bourbon (not together!); Maine lobster and chocolate (also not together!); and musical comedy scores, which she sing in the shower, unfortunately not an Equity venue; and a fascination with people in all walks of life. .




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