Featuring speculative thriller Last Star Standing by Spaulding Taylor
Aiden has always felt like an outsider. After the rebel assassin is captured and imprisoned by the world’s galactic overlords, he awaits execution. Then a mole working for the occupying regime alerts him to a plot that could destroy the entire resistance…
Engineering a daring escape, Aiden’s growing feud with the new rebel leader leaves him out in the cold and smouldering with resentment. Faced with deceit and betrayals on every side, he recruits a group of overlooked outcasts and stakes everything on one last mission.
Can the restless, reckless Aiden take a stand long enough to save humanity from enslavement?
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Excerpt from Last Star Standing
Lips parted, the woman pressed eagerly forward. The target smiled at her but instead selected a pudgy lad of about six. He passed a skinny guy – who looked, the poor sap, practically broken-hearted. He was almost upon us. My heart sped until it seemed ready to jerk straight out of my chest. Choose me. Choose me. CHOOSE ME.
The Enlightened One seemed – or was it only my imagination? – to be gazing directly at me. Pushing swiftly past Petra I extended my hand. He turned, made a strange gesture, almost of benediction, then wired the back of my hand with that thick blackened stump. An instant surge of heat pulsed up my arm and throughout my torso. Then a wild swirl of fuchsia-slashed-with-orange flashed beneath my eyelids, as if the same stars, fiery and spot-lit against the black, had been injected into my brain. My every corpuscle felt fired, an almost intoxicating sensation, especially after the chill of the poison. I half-stumbled, almost squashing a smallish alien, and only saved myself from falling at the last second.
Through a haze – my eyeballs felt as if they were swimming in flaming waterfalls – I saw Petra and moved towards her. Of course. She couldn’t risk being stamped, in case the creature died too fast. As we walked the ornate brand began to swell on my hand – a warming, tightening feeling. The sense of strangeness accelerated, though this might have been from my borrowed DNA, the chilled poison in my blood, or the fiery stamp. But nothing could dent my happiness, because – I’d done it. I’d assassinated The Enlightened One.
About Spaulding Taylor
Alice (Spaulding Taylor) McVeigh has been published by Orion/Hachette in contemporary fiction, by Unbound Publishing in action/adventure and by Warleigh Hall Press in Austenesque fiction. Her novels have won Gold Medal/First Place is the Global, eLit and Pencraft Book Awards, been runner-up in the Independent Press Awards, finalists in the Eric Hoffer, Rone and Wishing Shelf Book Awards and selected by Shelf Unbound as one of the “top indies” of 2021. Two of her novels are currently finalists in the CIBA Book Awards (the Cygnus and Goethe Awards). Her most recent novel (Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation) was just selected as Editors’ Pick “outstanding” on Publishers Weekly.
A professional London cellist, Alice lives in London and Crete with her professor husband: their only child is completing her Masters in Chinese Literature. They also share two miniature long-haired dachshunds and an incurable addiction to tennis.
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