Claimed by the Cyborg
by Cara Bristol
GENRE: Science Fiction Romance
March Fellows assumed he had all the time in the galaxy to pursue a relationship with Jules, an alien exchange student from Xenia, until she vanished without a trace. After years of searching, he finds his lost love on the eve of her arranged marriage.
The daughter of the Xenian emperor, Julietta never meant to fall in love with a Terran man while visiting Earth. Leaving to fulfill her responsibilities on her home planet opened up a hole in her heart that could never be filled. When March, now a cyborg, unexpectedly shows up just before she is to be bonded, she struggles to find the courage to turn him away a second time and follow through with her duty.
Before she can act, the lovers are thrust into a political conspiracy that threatens the Xenian empire and their lives.
Claimed by the Cyborg is a standalone read in the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance series.
Leaving had carved a hole so deep and wide it could never be filled. She averted her gaze. “I said I was sorry.”
“On my PerComm. Yeah, I got the message.”
“It was the only way.”
“No, it wasn’t the only way.” He glared. Terran eyes were so expressive, revealing every emotion. “Another option would have been to tell me the truth, face-to-face, to wake me the fuck up and say, “Gotta run. See, ya!”
Not an option. Because if she had, she never would have been able to leave at all.
“I made some mistakes,” she said. Going to Terra counted as the first one. Then she’d gotten involved with March. As powerful as falling in love had been, it hadn’t bestowed her with the courage to face her father and her family, the council, the seer, her people, her consort-to-be, and confess she didn’t want to come back or become empress. She desired to marry a Terran and have half-alien babies, if that was even possible. She’d had the weight of an entire world, a millennium of history on her shoulders, and she’d caved to duty, leaving while she could still do so.
“Yeah,” he said. “Me, too.” Meaning her. She was his mistake. She had earned his anger, but his bitterness dripped like acid on an already-wounded heart.
Tears welled in her eyes and trickled over her lower lids. They would leave black streaks down her cheeks, across the carefully designed whorls decorating her face. Incongruously, she wondered how long it would take for the design to fade without the act of sexual congress to activate her hormones. How long would be she marked as the almost bride?
“I deserved that,” she said, steeling her courage because she owed him an explanation. She twisted her hands. “I had to go. My father seems benign and doting, but he would have invaded Terra, stormed the university, and dragged me home.”
A small smile quirked at the corner of March’s mouth. “Having met your father and experienced his ‘hospitality,’ I believe you. The emperor is not a man to cross. Why didn’t you tell me who you were at the beginning?”
“Because, for once in my life, I wanted to be anonymous.”
“No one would have treated you any differently. They would have been surprised, at first, but after the curiosity wore off, you could have been that—just another college kid.”
“I would have known, and it would have changed everything.” She would have lost those precious, rare times when for a few moments, she did forget her station and duty. Oh, how she had loved cramming for exams, arguing and grousing in study groups, eating bad food, staying out too late with other students, the hustle and bustle of campus life, her one and only spring break spent at a beach town where she’d become inebriated. Shitfaced, the Terrans called it, which sounded worse than it was, because she’d loved the experience. It was so very…Terran.
Hey, Jules, you want to grab a cup of coffee? Hey, Jules, can you share your notes? Hey, Jules, there’s a party Saturday night. Hey, Jules, hey, Jules, hey. Jules. Oh, the sweet, sweet sound of it.
And then came March, who sought out her company not because he’d been chosen by the seer, but just because. And that was the sweetest of all.
Until the heartbreak. Her affair with anonymity had exacted a steep price.
“Would you have gotten involved with me if you had known my identity?” she asked.
Cara Bristol: What I wish I knew then that I know now
I published 30 books in seven years. My first romance was published in 2009 by Black Velvet Seductions, a small e-publish. I went on to publish 15 romances with Loose Id, Decadent Publishing, and LazyDay (Blushing Books) and Black Velvet, before going Indie in the latter part of 2014.
I’ve been asked to talk about the things I wish I knew before I was published:
- How supportive the author community is and how important those social connections are. People think of writers as being isolated in their offices hammering out that next book. Well, that part is true. But along the way, through social media, I’ve made some awesome, awesome writer friends who have helped me immensely. They’ve hosted me on their blogs, invited me to participate in anthologies, written reviews, offered advice and technical know-how, beta read manuscripts, and shared experiences. I’ve heard authors complain of jealousy and dirty tricks, but that has not been my experience.
- How easy and viable self-publishing is. I was afraid to take the leap at first. Self-publishing seemed so daunting, but I saw so many authors doing it successfully and surpassing traditionally published writers, that I decided to give it a try. Particularly with romance ebooks, you don’t need a publisher anymore. I’m not saying it’s not a lot of work (it is), but publishing is not a great mystery or difficult. I am glad that I was traditionally published first and had built up a readership before I went Indie, because starting cold would be hard.
- How dynamic publishing has become and how fast the market changes. Publishing used to be staid and steady. Now it changes in a flash. Nothing is the same now as it was when I was first published. Publishers that were in business when I started are no longer in business. Some booksellers have shut down. Book reviewers and bloggers come and go. Trends in marketing and promotion have shifted. Promotion efforts that used to work don’t anymore. Other opportunities have arisen that didn’t used to exist. Just when you think you have a handle on things, the situation changes. Yesterday’s hot genre is cold today. And when Amazon implements a change, it affects the entire market. To stay ahead of the game—or at least keep up with it—you have to stay on your toes.
- How much a writing career consumes one’s life. I wrote fiction as a hobby for decades before I became published. My day job was in corporate public relations. When I came home from work, I was done. I had no trouble forgetting about work. When you work at home, because your schedule is flexible, work and nonwork time bleed together. I enter my office to do a quick email check, and two hours pass. When take off in the middle of the day for errands, appointments, etc. I have to make up that time on weekends, resulting in a seven-day workweek. I wake up the middle of the night thinking about my stories. But I love it. Being an author is my dream job.
- How much I would learn. Want an education? Write a book! I’m continually learning new skills. Because of writing, I’ve learned how to self-publish, how to market a romance novel, how to do my own graphics, how to do a print book, how to do a newsletter, how to organize a street team, how to use so many different social media sites for promotion. The list goes on. I also strive to improve my storytelling and writing. I think my books are better now than they were when I started writing. I hope readers think so, too.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
USA Today bestselling author Cara Bristol has been the no. 1 best seller in science fiction romance, bdsm erotica, and holiday fiction on Amazon. She’s the author of two science fiction romance series featuring tough alpha heroes: the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance cyborg series and the Breeder science fiction romance series, which emphasize character-driven stories written with a touch of humor and sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine. Cara lives in Missouri with her own alpha hero, her husband.
Cara’s Website: http://carabristol.com
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Cara-Bristol/e/B004D8KZTQ
Author Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/9aRJj
Twitter: @CaraBristol https://twitter.com/CaraBristol
Paperback version: http://hyperurl.co/ClaimedinPrint
Cara Bristol will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.