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A Soldier and a Liar by Caitlin Lochner - Book Tour + Giveaway

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A Soldier and a Liar
Caitlin Lochner
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: February 19th 2019
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
In a world on the brink of war, four superpowered teens must learn to work together for peace in Caitlin Lochner’s action-packed debut novel, A Soldier and A Liar.
Lai Cathwell is good at keeping secrets. As a Nyte, a supernaturally gifted teenager who is feared and shunned by the ungifted, this skill is essential to survival. Orchestrating her own imprisonment to escape military duty has only honed her ability to deceive others. But when rebels start attacking the city, Lai is dragged back into the fight with a new team of Nytes.
Thrown together with Jay, a self-conscious perfectionist consumed by the desire to be accepted; Al, a short-tempered fighter lying for the sake of revenge; and Erik, an amnesiac hell-bent on finding his memories and his place in the world, Lai realizes she’s facing an entirely different kind of challenge–one that might just be impossible. But if this team can’t learn to work together, the entire sector will be plunged into war.

I turn my back on him to face the area behind us. It is, like most of the terrain we passed through earlier, filled with hundreds of boulders and pillarlike rocks scattered at random. Anyone could be hiding among them.
Glancing back to make sure Kitahara is fully focused on the battle in front of him, I lean into my gift and listen for any new thoughts.
Unlike Kitahara, my range is pretty short unless there’s strong, mutual trust between me and the person I’m trying to hear. Which is why I don’t notice four people approaching until they’re only thirty yards away.
Aim carefully keep the brunette alive kill the other.
I grab the back of Kitahara’s collar and practically throw him down the side of the crater. He shouts as he tumbles down the incline, sending rubble and stones clattering after him.
An arrow flies through his former position. I run toward its archer—a rebel dressed all in sand-colored camouflage, crouched behind a boulder, bow still drawn—and decompress my weapon. The cylinder extends into a metal spear a head taller than I am, equipped on both ends with sharpened blades. I thrust one straight through the boy’s chest before he can run.
He stares at it. Tries to pull it out.
My heart stutters.
I rip my weapon from him and turn to catch another rebel’s sword along the shaft. I tilt my spear and the sword scrapes along the metal, making him lose his hold. Then I kick him in the stomach. He stumbles back, and I run my spear through his throat. I can feel my blood pounding under my skin.
I don’t have time to tear it out before another rebel comes down on me. I swing my spear around, still with the rebel impaled on the end, and force the body into a collision with the third rebel. She shrieks as her friend’s body hits her, and the force sends them both to the ground.
The smell of blood is overpowering. The growing quiet in my mind—usually such a blessing when I’m finally able to leave a crowd—just makes it worse. I push down my rising nausea. I have to do this. I need to stop these people.
I raise my spear to finish the girl, only to end up using it as a pole vault to avoid a spike of ice as it shoots up from the ground. My boots skid across the dry ground, scattering a cloud of dust as I turn to see a tall girl with deeply tan skin, dark brown hair, and pale eyes the color of ice extending her hand in my direction.
Ice Eyes jerks her hand in an arc. I bolt as shards of ice crystallize in the air and cut toward me. I have to duck into a roll to avoid the last few.
My hands and feet shoot out to propel me into the side of a boulder, narrowly driving me out of the way of another spike of ice sprouting from the ground. My right arm takes the brunt of the force as I collide with solid rock.
I push down the pain as I race to avoid her next rain of missiles, only to stumble right into Rebel Three’s path. Shit. How did I lose track of her?
She yells as she brings her sword down against my spear. The force shoots through my right arm and I have to bite back a cry. I nearly lose my grip. Blood pounds in my ears as I shuffle back and forth, completely on the defensive as I try to keep her swings at bay.
My mind is still focused on reading everyone’s thoughts and intended moves before they make them. Which is why I know exactly when to sidestep Rebel Three’s sword and spin around behind her, kicking her into my former position so that she’s the one who lands on Ice Eye’s crystal spear.
She screams.
I think I’m going to be sick.
Then I bob and weave to avoid getting stabbed by spears of ice myself. My arm screams in protest, but there’s nothing I can do but grit my teeth.
It hurts. I don’t want to be here. It’s been too long since I was last in a real fight. Knowing that I could die with any wrong move. Taking lives that just seconds before had thoughts, dreams, friends, maybe family waiting for them to come back. I hate it. I hate this.
The pattern of falling ice changes. A spear goes straight through my foot, and this time, I can’t hold back my scream. I fall to one knee and gasp as I try to hold back the tears of pain.
When I look up, Ice Eyes is standing in front of me. She holds a sword to my neck, but we both know she won’t kill me. Ellis doesn’t want me dead.
The girl’s thoughts burn with barely suppressed fury and grief. For a moment, I can’t see her as a rebel bent on killing thousands of innocent ungifted. I can only see a girl about my own age who just lost three of her friends—no, more, counting the rebels we took out at the base.
The tip of her sword presses against my throat. Hot blood trickles down.
“I’ve got orders to bring you back alive,” the girl says very quietly. Her voice is like brittle ice. “But I have half a mind to kill you.”
“You wouldn’t betray Ellis like that.”
She looks like she’s about to respond—but then her head snaps around and a wall of ice rises behind her. The sharp, piercing shatter of metal cracking off it rings in my ears.
Kitahara is standing on the edge of the crater, covered in dust and scratches and out of breath from his climb back up, but ultimately unhurt. He’s already drawn another knife.
“Don’t,” I say, but I don’t know whether I’m talking to Kitahara or Ice Eyes. He can’t take her on. I don’t want her to kill him.
Ice Eyes barely looks at me. Her sword doesn’t move from my throat. “You killed my friends.” She flicks her wrist, and ice spears form in the air above Kitahara. He watches them, trying to decide where they’ll fall, but there are too many to avoid. Unlike with me, Ice Eyes is aiming to kill.
“Please,” I whisper.
She lets her hand fall. The ice rains down.
And meets a wall of flames.
The rebel pulls up a shield of ice to deflect most of the attack, but the heat blasts past, scorching my skin even through my protective uniform. I close my eyes against the burn. Is Johann trying to kill us both?
Ice Eyes grabs my bad arm, still intent on bringing me back with her. But before she can run, an invisible force rips me back so fast it nearly snaps my neck. When I open my eyes, I’m on the other side of the fire, back on the rim of the crater.
My head is spinning. What just happened?
Mendel is standing in front of me, hands on his knees, focus trained on the wild flames only yards in front of us. Other than a few cuts and scrapes, he seems none the worse for wear.
Then Kitahara is by my side. His hands fly first over my throat with its thin dribble of blood, and then my speared foot. The ice projectile in it disperses in a cloud of steam, letting loose a stream of blood with it.
“You’ll be okay,” Kitahara says. He says it again as he gets the first-aid kit out of his equipment belt. Again as he gently eases off my boot to better see my injury. Again as he pulls out long strips of bandages and puts pressure on the wound before wrapping it up.
“You’re okay,” I say. I thought for sure Ice Eyes’s attack had gotten him, and if not that, then Johann’s flames as they rushed past. I hope he can’t sense how relieved I am that he’s safe. I really didn’t want to be responsible for a teammate’s death on my first mission back. Especially not someone so hopelessly sincere.

Author Bio:
(Um, so, wow bios are hard.) I studied creative writing at the University of South Florida and used my BA in words to become an English teaching assistant in Tokyo. I’m in love with storytelling of any kind, but especially in the form of books, manga, and video games. If you ever want to talk nerdy, I am VERY down.


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