Thursday, November 11, 2010

Defiant Dancer Debuts

Rulers try to suppress her. Humans want her dead, and a powerful male intends to possess her no matter the cost. They should have known better.

Mikial drags her reluctant people toward a tumultuous future where they can stand against human incursion as a united race. She learns that the true cost of leadership is paid in fraying friendships and strained alliances. It is the best time to discover love in another’s arms. It is the worst time for humans to return to her world.

Sunken cities. Space combat. A lover’s triangle that turns deadly. Defiant Dancer is the third installment in my “Dancer” series, and has a lot to live up to. Both previous novels earned Finalist status in the EPIC E-book Awards, and Rogue Dancer garnered Champagne Books “Best Book of the Year” for 2010. I aim to keep the pages turning while plumbing deeper into the personal cost of being shoved into the role of a savior few want. Roles change, friendships grow or wither, and a seemingly frivolous sect reveals far darker shadows. Oh, and this novel has to have the catchiest opening line I’ve ever wrote. Here is the opening for Defiant Dancer – due for a December release. You can read the first chapter in its entirety at www.kmtolan.com.

~*~

DEFIANT DANCER

By

K M Tolan

One

“Your pet human just escaped.”

Mikial's amber eyes closed for a moment. Do you have to keep calling him that? She relaxed her grip on the exercise rope and dropped to the hardwood floor. Her muscular six-hand frame easily absorbed the fall. Knees bent, Mikial pulled back an unruly swipe of cinnamon hair and glared at the Lead of her Surian Guard. “Ryan Donald is Earth's Ambassador... providing I can ever get him back to his home again. He's nobody's pet, Nenya, least of all mine.” She stood, wiping a rivulet of sweat from her light mocha cheeks. Nenya's irreverence bordered on contempt... as usual.

Nenya clasped her hands in hollow contrition. “Forgive me, my Suria. Your... Ambassador just escaped.”

And to think we came from the same background. Like Nenya, she had been born into the Datha combat sect as a rare female Dathia, and still had the claws to prove it. Neither of them were within a stone's throw of petite, most of their curves owed more to predatory physiques than shapely breasts and hips. They were both barely into their twenties, and unmarried, but that was where the similarities ended. Mikial envied Nenya's ebony skin, having lost much of her own pigmentation in an unasked for metamorphosis from which Surias emerged.

Grabbing a towel from its rack next to a series of kick bags, Mikial wiped her face and pressed on with the conversation. “So how did Ryan manage to escape? Kinset has nothing but water around it, and I don't think he is that good a swimmer.”

Nenya smiled. “He stole your airsail. If you hurry, you can see him flying overhead.”

Mikial stared at her, mouth sagging. “He... took my airsail?” She threw down the towel. “There isn't enough charge in those batteries to light a glow stone!” Not caring if her public image as her race’s supposed savior was tarnished by anyone seeing her running about in only brown exercise shorts and a brief top, Mikial made for the door.

Nenya, looking far more respectable in a two-piece black dress uniform with flowing side skirts, dashed after her. The three other members of her Surian Guard were quick to join them in the tower's foyer, speeding with her through double ironwood doors and down polished black basalt steps. Outside the southeast tower entrance, she had an excellent view of a coastline cast in the gold hues of an early morning.

“There!” Nenya shouted, pointing beyond the cliff edge upon which the Datha war college perched like a great red brick. “He's already over the strait.”

Squinting, Mikial caught the orange glint of a rising sun off twin props. She watched as the airsail flew unchallenged toward the distant shores of Kioranna. “He's not going to get much farther.” She launched herself across the intervening green between the college and a road winding along Kinset's three gorges, her goal a wide flagstone path adjacent to a scenic turnoff. The soft grass between her bare toes spurred her into a fresh burst of speed.

Nenya easily caught up with her. Together they vaulted over the decorative railing bordering the grounds. “Excuse me, Suria, but where are you going?”

“The sea!” she snapped. Then, mindful of the warning tone in the Dathia's contralto voice, panted as she ran, “I have to keep the only human ambassador we have from drowning!”

Nenya leapt forward and turned to block her halfway across the road. “You're not allowed to swim in the ocean! You know that!”

Mikial stopped with a threatening growl of her own. “Who mentioned anything about swimming? Didn't you say your family were fishers? You can still pilot a boat, can't you?”

Nenya bared her teeth only enough to remain on the edge of insubordination. “No tricks, my Suria.”

No tricks? You're actually going to go along with this?

2 comments:

Linda Kage said...

I agree with you on the first line. It definitely caught my attention and kept me reading the whole excerpt. Very nice.

I agree with you about expectations too. My first book was so easy to get out there. No one had ever read me before, they didn't expect anything. But now, what if I fail them? It's a scary and intimidating prospect.

Good luck with your sales and future awards!

Eve Langlais said...

ROFl love the first line about the pet human. Definitely lures the reader in :)