Submitted by Sam Burns and W.M. Fawkes

A big welcome to Sam Burns and W.M. Fawkes as part of their release of Submitted.

Exclusive Excerpt
For reasons I could not name, I wanted nothing more than to feel his touch on me.

Still, not the new mark.

“Not that one,” I rasped.

He startled and looked back up at my face. Unlike the other humans, he didn’t flinch away from my too-blue Thorzi eyes. “What?”

I reached out and took his hand in mine—gently, in case he wanted to pull away. Instead of touching it to the new mark on my neck, I pulled it up and set it on the mark on the right side of my chest. My very first mark.

As I held his hand over it, I lifted my free one, allowing the purple spiked blade to extend from the center of my palm. “This mark allows me to make these. One in each hand.”

“It’s hot,” he murmured, staring at it in awe.

I nodded. “It is made of plasma. Like the star that made the mark in my skin.”

He glanced at the other marks, then back up at my face. “What about the rest of them?”

“They do other things,” I said, and it sounded casual, almost glib, as though each mark hadn’t been torture to attain, and wasn’t worth my life to me. “Healing broken bones, slowing my enemies when they near me.”

“But I can’t touch that one?” he asked, pointing back at my neck.

I had to work not to flinch. “It is new. It might hurt you.”

“Hurt me?”

Somehow, that seemed to fascinate him even more. Was he fascinated by pain, my little human? But no, he didn’t touch, just leaned around and up to try to get a better look at it.

“Why would it hurt me because it’s new?” Then his eyes went round with sudden realization. “You said a star gave this to you. It’s like . . . it’s like a sunburn. A magical sunburn that gives you powers? That’s amazing and also . . . a little awful.”

It was succinct and well said. I found that I liked this human more and more. I breathed in to get his attention, and it worked strangely well, his gaze snapping immediately to my chest.

“Did you just growl at me? Did I do something wrong?” He winced. “I guess calling your magic powers a sunburn is rude.”

“It was to get your attention.” When he raised an eyebrow at me, I sighed. “To get your attention off my marks and back onto me.”

“Oh.” He flushed and glanced away, so I reached out and tipped his chin so I could look into his eyes.

“I am not disturbed that you like them. I am proud of them. Each one”—I motioned from one to another, all across my chest—“is a trial. The first three nearly killed me.”

His mouth fell open in a horrified gape, an expression I was used to in the humans who saw me. Somehow, strangely, I thought perhaps in this one case, it was not horror at my appearance or existence. So I did something I never did, with anyone.

“I am Vorian, son of Crux. And you?”

An alien bastard, a man without a home, and a war to end an entire planet…

Beau: I never had a place to belong. The only gay kid in my small town on the shores of the southern Mississippi River, I’ve spent my life hiding who I am. And the night I came out of the closet? Yeah, my dad kicked me out of his house. But there’s not belonging, and then there’s being kidnapped and whisked off the flipping planet and hanging out with huge, intimidating extraterrestrials.

Okay, given that I’ve been caged by a bunch of big blue aliens, I guess “hanging out” is an overstatement, but at least they’re feeding me. We get to an entirely new planet, and these warriors have more in mind for me than I’m prepared to give. Only, there’s one surly alien warrior who’ll put his life on the line to save mine.

Vorian: Son of Crux the Progenitor, self-proclaimed savior of Thorzan, I have spent my life outcast from Thorzi society, watching my princely half-brother Kaelum from the shadows. Hated by my human mother and a hybrid myself, the Thorzi see me as soft and weak. My father expects me to mate with one of our own kind, but I see my own weaknesses, hopes, and angers in the form of one beautiful human, trapped in one of my father’s cages.

To save him from the fate my father has in store, I’ll have to betray
everything I’ve ever known, but I may need help from my people. And whether they know it or not, they’ll need Beau and me to survive the war with our greatest enemies.

By popular cowriting duo Sam Burns & W.M. Fawkes, Submitted is an M/M alien romance with a hybrid warrior who’s spent his life as an outsider, a homeless young man who’ll find a place to belong on a planet he never dreamed of, and a battle for all of Thorzan in the hands of a special bonded mate pair. This book is third in the Star Marked Warriors series, but each book can be read as standalone.

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About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at https://annebarwell.wordpress.com
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