Looking for an amazing read? Check out SYNCHED by DeAnna Browne
Caught in a high-stakes, worldwide virtual game of political espionage, Ari must either play by the rules or pay with the lives of those she loves.
After escaping from a life of government slavery, Ari finds employment with world renowned tech company and hopes it’s the haven she’s been looking for. But as she begins training, her misgivings grow. As Ari fulfills her obligations, her employer’s façade dissolves and her role twists into something she never imagined. Thrust inside a virtual world, Ari is caught in the middle of a treacherous political game where misplaced trust can be deadly. Yet, her only choice is to play, or those she loves will be forced to pay the price.
Reviews from Book 1 of the Hard Wired Series, HOOKED:
“Browne’s HOOKED delivers a mind-bending ride guaranteed to bring you back for more.” ~ Jami Gray, award winning author
“Hooked is right. The story line hooked me right away and I couldn’t put it down.”
“A dash of Ready Player One, a splash of Divergent and a small sprinkling of the Matrix …”
Character Casting for SYNCHED
Arianna played by Adria Arjona
Reed (her boyfriend)-Nicholas Hoult
Marco (her brother)- Matt Doyle Niomi (her trainer) – Pink
Kari – Jane Levy
Meet DeAnna Browne!
About DeAnna Browne
DeAnna Browne graduated from Arizona State University with her BS in Psychology. She finds it helps to corral those voices in her mind and put them to paper. Her debut novel, A DEMON RISING, was out in August 2017 with Black Opal Books. An avid reader and writer, she loves all things fantastical and bizarre with a touch of romance. Despite her love for food and traveling, she always finds her way back to Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, children, and pet dog.
Snippets from the Book:
Ari ducked to avoid the oncoming strike and spun away from her opponent, only it wasn’t enough. The staff hit her in the stomach, her breath escaping with a grunt. Thankfully, her suit absorbed most of the hit, and she carried the momentum though into a backward roll, her own staff still in hand.
“Faster.” Niomi drove Ari off the mat and into the sand.
Spinning the staff, she drove it towards Niomi, but Ari was a second behind. Again. Niomi countered, striking out at Ari. This time she blocked the attack with a mirroring forward cut, but Niomi kept coming at her, stronger and faster than Ari ever hoped to be.
“Think offensively. Make a plan,” Niomi ordered, with a steely determination in her eyes.
My plan is to avoid using my healing kit again. Ari couldn’t manage a response between her jagged breaths. Her arms burned with exhaustion, but she struck out. At the last second, she switched directions, hoping to catch Niomi off guard—like that was even possible.
Ducking low, Niomi avoided the hit and countered. That’s all it took. Before Ari knew it, Niomi had her staff in the back of Ari’s neck and a foot on her lower back.
Spitting out a mouthful of sand, Ari managed to speak. “Give.”
Niomi let go of her immediately and stepped back on the mat. “You can’t give an opponent that big of an opening.”
Ari pushed up on her hands and knees, struggling to catch her breath. Lifting her gaze, she squinted into the partly cloudy sky. “What opponent? You act like I’m going to be a gladiator in the VR programs. Remember, I was hired to program, not fight. I don’t need this.”
Since she joined VisionTech six months ago, she found the training was nothing as she imagined. Hired as a warper, she thought she’d be focused on programing inside the virtual reality world. Warpers were about as rare as conjoined twins. Why waste time on this?
End of Chapter 1
“Answer,” she said. “This is Ari. Who’s this?”
“Only your most brilliant friend that you will adore and worship forever.” Ari recognized his voice of her technical liaison.
“So, why are you so brilliant today?”
“I finished your personalized modification for your VR suit. You’ll be flying through your program.”
“Flying, huh? Pretty sure humans conquered that in the 1800s.”
“Not like this. Trust me, you’ll love it.”
A grin stretched wide on her face. Vinh’s job was to assist with her gear and anything else she needed. In the past months, he quickly grew into a friend. A quirky friend with no people skills, who loved to socialize.
“Is that part of what Niomi wanted to do today? Try out my gear?”
“Think so. Not sure. Aren’t you cutting it close to meet her? I don’t want to hear you complaining about Niomi busting your butt in training.”
Ari checked the time on the HUB built into the forearm of the suit and realized she was late. “Flip. I better go.” She rushed down the hall.
The annoying AI called out. “Remember your meeting with Niomi in room—”
“Yeah, yeah. Hold your horses, Henry.” Her artificial personal assistant’s name changed weekly, sometimes daily, depending on Ari’s mood. Henry was the name of Ari’s first pet, a pissy old cat. And it fit, today.
Ari hurried down the hall. If she was a minute late, Niomi would require her to run some serious mileage with her tomorrow. And Niomi could run for miles on end. As it was, Ari had never been so fit in her life and never wanted to be. It’s her luck to be stuck with a full-time trainer that thinks muscles outside a virtual are just as important as in.
“You have thirty seconds to—”
“Shut up, Henry.” She quieted her AI as she sprinted around the corner, her feet sliding on the floor.
Metal doors appeared, and Ari hurried to her usual training room, sliding to a stop. While the door read her chip and scanned her cornea for clearance, she tried to slow her breath. Then, she walked into an empty training room.
Once inside the room, her breath caught in her throat as she took in the bloody face before her.
A Romantic Snippet
A comfort settled deep in her belly. Gratitude and desire in having Reed by her side overwhelmed her, and she leaned forward to kiss him. In her enthusiasm, she pushed him over and ended up in the sand. He held on tight and rolled until he was on top. Kneeling above her, the sun highlighted gold strands in his hair. He looked like some sea prince.
“Is that how we’re going to do this?” he asked with a mischievous grin on his face.
“Oh, shut up and kiss me.”
And he did just that. Reed lips were light as feathers at first, teasing her. Wrapping her hands around his neck she pulled him down to show him she meant business. She melted into his kiss, losing herself in the desire of his touch.
She wrapped one leg around his thigh and in a move Niomi would be proud of, flipped him back over. Sand scattered between them, as Ari smiled down on him.
He squirmed under her hold but didn’t really try to break it.
“Now you have me? What are you going to do with me?”
Ari savored this picture of him playing with her. His mouth turning up on the sides, struggling not to laugh. His kind eyes rose to the challenge.
“Well…” she leaned down to devour him, but her HUB rang with a call.
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