Guest Post by Marie Harte
The end of the world is always a bleak idea. But what about after the end, when the great rebirth happens? People nearly kill the Earth with pollution, then sky rocks fall and divide the planet, smashing into North America and dividing it through the Midwest. Electricity no longer works, so the East turns to steam power, and the West breaks down into Territories, where lawlessness runs rampant and might makes right. That’s the concept that sat at the forefront of my mind when writing Tip of the Spear, a western that’s not set in the past, but in the future, in the year 1156 NB, the New Beginning.
Welcome to the New West, when cowboys and Amazons collide… A sexy bounty hunter meets a woman warrior seeking vengeance, and the sparks fly.
Hinto Dakota is a man affected by the sky rocks that once nearly destroyed the planet. Like the other mutations considered unnatural, Hinto can use his mind in ways ordinary men can’t.
Thais (Tay-iss) is newly welcomed into the caste of warrior selected to guard her queen, and then the unthinkable happens. Brutal foreigners destroy her village and her world. She’s out for blood, and to recover the queen’s stolen crown.
When Thais meets Hinto, she still wants little to nothing to do with men. When he sees the guy who killed his bounty, and he’s suddenly a she, he wants to bed her, then forget her. He has plans that don’t include a feisty woman who can’t appreciate what a fine man he is.
What could be better than stubborn individuals who learn they need one another? And in the sexiest way possible?
Take a peek and see what you think! One lucky commenter will win a free (mobi) download of Tip of the Spear, the first of the Amazon Westerns.
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An Amazon Western (Post Apocalyptic)
October 10, 2012
Welcome to the New West, where the Nature Laws dictate who lives and dies by the way they treat the land, carnivorous horses and blood trees are accepted mutations courtesy of the sky rocks, and the Impact Zone separates the earth-friendly territories of the West from a more sophisticated, steam-powered East. Women are rare commodities, living in extended families with more than one husband, and children are a necessity in a world where sterility is often the norm, not the exception. Life is full of challenge, romance and adventure. Something one courageous, wounded Amazon will find out first-hand.
Thais (Tay-iss) lost her mother, her queen, and most of her tribe at the hands of brutal foreigners, all while she enjoyed a respite from duty. But the young Amazon with vengeance in her heart refuses to lose anything else. She'll bring back the queen's crown or die trying. Life in the Territories has its perils: the Nature Laws, carnivorous beasts, and treacherous men who survived the Time of Dying. One man in particular, a warrior in his own right, has an odd effect on her senses. She comes to desire him, to trust him, and she doesn't like it. Men are good for war and breeding, neither of which Thais has time for, not when she's so close to finding those responsible for the crown's theft. In the course of her quest, Thais finds much more than atonement for her troubled past, but a pure and lasting love, if only she has the courage to accept it.
Note: Tip of the Spear will be available only through Amazon until January 2013, at which time it will be released in other formats
Thais studied the painted woman before her with unease. Kitty wore her sexuality like a moth-eaten cloak. Such age and pain could not be covered by the cloying paints these whores used. In the four years she and her sisters had spent acclimating to the Territories, Thais had come across some strange things. But this driving need men, and apparently women, had for sex baffled her.
“So you want to know if I’ve seen who?” Kitty paused to take a puff of a smoke that smelled of clove and another substance Thais couldn’t identify.
Yara would know what it is. Thais missed her friends dearly. They’d parted two months ago, and in the time since, Thais felt more alone than she’d ever been. Or at least she had, before she’d run into that male, a warrior with light blue eyes.
When Kitty raised her hand in front of Thais’s face, Thais coughed through the smoke and apologized. “I’m sorry, Kitty. I’m not used to such libation,” she said haltingly, not sure if she used the right word. It had taken her two years to conquer the Territory language, and she still misused words when she took the time to speak them.
“My clove cigarettes?” Kitty laughed. “Honey, that’s not libation. That’s good clean medicine. The clove helps me to swallow. Numbs my throat.” She winked, as if sharing a joke. Thais had no idea what she was talking about. “The filler is homegrown leaf. The damned UTO outlawed tobacco ages ago. One of our last great vices.” She sighed. “It was organic, but toxic. Well, shee-it. Who the hell wants to live forever, anyway?”
Not sure what to say, Thais tried to regroup. “I am looking for a man.”
“Ain’t we all,” Kitty muttered and took a long drag.
“This one goes by the name Aaron Bartel. He’s very rich. His chest is broad, and he stands this high.” She held a hand slightly above her own head. “He also has dirty yellow hair and dead eyes. He’s a leader of men like him.” Murderers and rapists and thieves.
“Hmm, Bartel, you say?” Kitty puffed away on her cigarette. “Why are you looking for him?”
The sharp look on the woman’s face urged caution.
“I think he may be traveling with a few women I know. The warrior—ah, women would be like me. Tall and strong, maybe with darker skin than many of you here, from time spent in the sun.”
“I’d bet they talk funny, too, eh? Like you. One of ‘em have a purple flower with a yellow dot inked on her cheek, just under her eye?”
Pilar. Thais’s heart pounded. The traitorous Amazon would lead her to Bartel. She knew it.
Kitty smashed her cigarette on a ceramic plate. She blew out a residual puff of clover scented smoke, and Thais fought the urge to gag. “What’s it worth to you?”
“What do you need?”
Her quick answer took Kitty by surprise. “Hmm, what do I need?” She eyed Thais up and down. “Take off that hat and lose the bandanna.”
Thais grudgingly did so.
“Holy shit, honey, you’re a beauty. Now take off that vest and open a few buttons.”
Thais had a bad feeling Kitty would demand of her something she refused to give. She slowly took off her vest and unfastened a few buttons.
“You binding ‘em?” Kitty nodded at her chest.
“Thought so. You have a build that screams sex, you know.”
“No, I do not.” Not sex. Never that.
Not sure if it was her tone or her stillness, Thais watched as compassion replaced the speculation on Kitty’s face. “Oh, okay, hon. You can’t gimme another girl to use. I get it. What about currency?”
Thais buttoned up her shirt and donned the vest again. The thin barrier of clothing made her feel safe. As if cotton and leather would protect her from the evils of men.
“I have some gold, but I think it will not be enough. Is there some service I might perform instead?” Realizing how Kitty might interpret that, she hastily amended, “Some man who has wronged you? Someone you wish dead?”
Kitty stared in surprise. “You a merc?”
“A merc,” she tested the word. Chow Yen had taught them much when they’d reached the Territories, but apparently the little man hadn’t taught them enough. She learned something new every day.
“A mercenary. You a killer for hire?”
“No, but to learn of Bartel, I would right a wrong done you.” To balance the scales of justice. The Goddess encouraged right. Death was a natural part of balance, an accepted occurrence in Thais’s scattered world.
“Right a wrong, hmm? You know, honey, I think you and me just might have a deal.”
Not only did they have a deal, but Kitty added in a room and a meal for Thais’s promised service. Considering what Kitty wanted done, Thais would have done the job for free. But she needed information about Bartel.
As Thais settled in for a night’s sleep, she tried to tune out the moans and groans around her. The rooms in this building had thin walls. Conversations droned like the buzzing of bees, low and insistent despite her closed door. The constant banging of something against her wall and the accompanying moaning of both a man and a woman made her think, surprisingly, of the tall stranger she’d encountered twice today.
He’d led her here to Kitty House with the expectation that she’d service him the way the women here pleasured their customers. Despite what had happened to her village four years ago, Thais didn’t hate men. Chow Yen had seen to that. She didn’t necessarily like them, nor did she anticipate ever mating with one of them. Though from what she’d heard, sexual intercourse wasn’t always painful, and most men seemed to derive pleasure from it.
To hear Kitty tell it, nothing satisfied like a good ride from the right man, whatever that meant. Though well-intentioned, Kitty’s offer to help Thais get over her discomfort with sex—and she still didn’t know how she’d been so transparent—bothered the hell out of her. Thais couldn’t imagine spreading her legs for a man, surrendering to his control. Still, today when the warrior had asked her to thank him, she’d felt a stirring of… something. Unfamiliar yet exciting. Her heart raced, her breath grew shorter, and her face heated. Nerves, not anxiety. A kind of interest, she supposed.
And why not? Even Mother consented to lying with a male once. Besides, he’s the first decent looking warrior you’ve seen out here in the land the Goddess forgot.
Taller than Thais and strong of form, he’d impressed her at first with his stillness and steady reserve. As he’d drawn closer on his vore, she’d sworn she sensed an answering wildness in not just the beast he rode, but in the man as well. Shoulder length black hair so dark it shone blue under the sunlight had captivated her, but his eyes had held her attention like nothing could. An exact match to the crystalline blue waters in the Goddess Cave, those orbs possessed unfathomable depths.
His voice, when he spoke, sounded rich. Like the rumble of a jaguar, yet clear of intent and strong. Unlike most of the filthy men in the Territories, he smelled of sweat and power. The burning energy in his gaze discomfited her, the way the guardians at home could unnerve the enemy with just a look.
He handled a rifle with ease and sat atop a vore as if he’d been born in the saddle, as she’d heard many a man comment about natural-born riders. Thais herself didn’t care for horseback. Riding a vore, on the other hand, appealed to her, maybe because vores were rumored to be nearly as intelligent as people, or because they could never be fully tamed. Oddly enough, the vore and the man reminded her of home. And she began to dream…
A smoking hot post apocalyptic romance, Tip of the Spear by Marie Harte, is the first book in her amazon Western series. With dynamic primary characters, scintillating dialogue, and plenty of action, Ms. Harte grabbed my attention from the first page and never let it go. The world building was well developed and blended well into the story, it never detracted from what was taking place between the characters. Tossing in some interesting other worldly creatures and some intriguing abilities, Ms. Harte has created a world unlike anything I've ever read before.
Thais, an Amazon Guardian, is on a mission of retrieval and vengeance. Tasked with locating the Amazon Queen's stolen crown and executing judgment on the man who stole it, she leaves the jungle world she knows to travel through what is left of the world as we know it. A warrior trained in self defense and war skills, she knows nothing of the new world she finds herself in and has no respect for most of it's inhabitants. Especially the men she encounters. Agreeing to help another woman get justice in exchange for information on the man she's tracking, Thais suddenly finds herself saddled with a male tracker, who's more than what he first appears. She just never planned on falling in love with him or on her sudden awakening to sexual pleasure.
Hinto Dakota is a man with a mission, determined to earn enough gold from his bounty hunting to pay for his father's medical care, he finds himself agreeing to help an alluring woman locate a personal bounty. Riding "Beast", his dependable vore (horse-like creature), he's attracted to Thais, who he's sure is a virgin. With secrets of his own, Hinto is more than just a competent tracker, he never planned on falling in love, especially to a woman whose fighting talents are almost as good as his own.
The scenes between Thais and Hinto are fun, hot and full of give and take. While Thais is completely a sexual novice, Hinto has more than enough experience for them both. Their sexual chemistry is off the charts and you just know when Thais finally surrenders to her desire, things between them will be hotter than a firecracker on the 4th of July. As they get to know each other longer, a trust between them develops which turns from friendship into love. I really liked how Ms. Harte developed their romance and the sexual relationship.
Will Thais be able to get the justice she desires? And when will Thais and Hinto discover they are meant to be together for a bigger reason than both of them can realize? You'll have to read Tip of the Spear to find out. I can't wait to see where Ms. Harte takes us next in this new world she's created.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars and a Recommended Read
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.