Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Book Blitz: Contrition by Lee Strauss

Contrition (Perception #3) by Lee Strauss

Release Date: September 26, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Goodreads • Amazon • B&N

Zoe, Noah and the other plane crash survivors are stranded in the Arizona desert.

They all have secrets,
and reasons to hide.
But they’re not alone.
Cyborg soldiers.
Humans and humanoids.
Who can be trusted?
Zoe’s life is in danger.
Noah must make an impossible choice.
Will their love survive their brokenness?
Will the world as they know it end before they can find out?

Excerpts from Contrition

I allowed myself to fall into his arms. He held me for a moment, an embrace, and I didn’t pull back. I felt lightheaded and weak. The strength of his arms around me, his body to support me, was a comfort I needed. I quivered, and his hold tightened.

He stroked my hair. “You’ve had quite a night,” he whispered.

I pinched my eyes to hold back the emotion. I’d been hunted, shot, chased, and now I’d survived a plane crash, all in one evening. Too many kinds of fear and terror, all twisted into a morbid bow in my gut. I was safe now, but I couldn’t’ release the horror.

I wanted to be in Noah’s arms. He was the one I wanted comfort from, but it was Taylor who offered it. I’d take it from anyone.

•     •     •

I lathered my body, and ducked under the stream to rinse off. I broke the surface and wiped my face dry with my hands. As I reached overhead to twist my hair free of excess water, a shadow moved in the light of the entrance. I stilled. Noah was standing there, staring, a tortured look on his face.

“Excuse me,” he said. “I didn’t know anyone was here.”

Time seemed to stop as we watched each other. Even though he’d seen me in my underwear many times before, I felt exposed and embarrassed. My heart raced and I choked out, “I’m almost done.”

“It’s okay. Take your time.” He turned sharply and left.

I swallowed, and told myself it was no big deal. Like nothing had just happened between us. Again.

•     •     •

But Taylor wasn’t an idiot. He moved to catch my eyes. “It’s lonely here, Zoe. Mary’s hot and all, especially with her badass gig going on—you know, when she’s not laid out with busted ribs—but she’s not like us.”

Not like us. Taylor was the only other GAP here. His parents had had him genetically altered before they’d died in a car crash. Before they’d had a chance to have the procedure done to his sister. Before he and Hannah had been adopted by cult relatives.

“I think we need more than just that in common to make something work,” I said. I’d had a GAP boyfriend before, and that relationship had been a disaster on so many levels.

“Okay, like what?” Taylor smirked. “Physical attraction? Check. Intelligence compatibility? Check. Marooned on a desert rock? Check.”

I smiled. Taylor was right about all those things. I did find him attractive and intelligent. It was what had gotten me into trouble at the commune. All that and his charisma had charmed me into kissing him.

It was the kiss of death for my tenuous relationship with Noah. I’d apologized a million times since and had done everything short of begging Noah to let me back in. Actually, I had begged. He’d stubbornly insisted that his lack of GAP status was reason enough for us to stay apart.

That and the fact that he no longer trusted me. Or trusted in my memories of him. Memories lost prior to our stint at the commune, thanks to dear ol’ Grandpa V, who’d stolen them from me.

Taylor wasn’t wrong, though. Sharing GAP status did mean something. I wouldn’t have to worry about him cutting out on me because of that, using it as an excuse to leave. To stay away. I longed for a commitment that went beyond just looking out for my physical safety. And he was charming and cute.

But I couldn’t deny what my heart wanted and right now it wanted Noah Brody.

Taylor could read the conflict on my face. “Come on, Zoe. Don’t waste time waiting for him. He’s moved on.”

My heart stopped when he said that. The truth hurt. He might or might not have moved on to Mary, but it was pretty obvious he wanted to move on from me. I pinched my eyes shut, but a lone tear escaped. Taylor’s finger ran along my cheek, scooping it up. I gasped at his gentle touch. I might be pining for Noah, but I couldn’t deny that I also had feelings for Taylor Blake.

Taylor’s mouth moved to my ear, and I trembled when his hot breath caressed my neck.

“He’s not worth it.”

. Noah’s voice chimed in. “Am I interrupting?”

•     •     •

“What was Tucson, like?” I asked. It was code for were there pictures of my face?

Noah stared at the ground. “It was busy, just like any other city. Lots of people. Traffic. Noise.”


His eyes caught mine. “And lots of billboards. They’re still after us, Zoe. The reward for your return has been upped to two million.”

My heart whooshed. “And you?”

“The same. But the president doesn’t care if I’m brought in alive.”

Fear gripped my throat. “You can’t go into Tucson, anymore, Noah.”

He brushed it off. “Ah, the picture of me makes me look like I’m a twelve year-old boy. I didn’t get a second glance.”

“It’s true,” Taylor said. “Your photos look hot, but his, meh.”

I laughed at Taylor, and he grinned back at me before disappearing into the tech cave. I watched Noah as he unloaded the last of the items from the buggy. He caught me staring, and I glanced away. My shoes were suddenly very interesting. I dug at the sand with my toe. I casually looked up again from under my lashes. Noah’s eyes were on me now. I stayed locked on his gaze. What is he thinking? Did he feel the pull of attraction I felt? Did the longing for something more make his soul ache like mine did?

And if so, would he ever give into it again?

Sweat dripped between my breasts and down my spine. I felt dizzy and slid to the ground with a thump. Thankfully, the others were all busy focused on other things and didn’t notice. I held my chest, willing my heart to slow.

Something was wrong with me.

I didn’t know what, but I should be stronger. I should actually be the healthiest. Well, along with Taylor, though technically I’d been a GAP for longer.

When my heart calmed, I reached into my bag for a “clean” shirt and mentioned to Hannah that I was going to the stream to freshen up. The sun was low on the horizon, and I wanted to make it back before it got dark.

I’d collected the soap and shampoo on my way out of the cave looking forward to the shock of cold water. My hair hung in greasy strands, long enough now to tie back at least. I removed the tie, along with my clothes, and slipped in.

The water was strangely warm. Something was weird, but I wasn’t going to complain just yet. I’d tell Taylor when I got back. I made good use of the soap and was about to reach for the shampoo when I heard movement.

“Knock, knock.”

I startled at the voice. “Noah?”

“Sorry, I didn’t know you were here.”

So, now you do. Why are you just standing there, staring? I was fully aware that, though submerged, I was naked. Noah’s eyes zeroed on mine, and I could sense the debate going on in his head. He wanted to stay.

Suddenly, all the oxygen felt like it was sucked out of the cave.

I took a chance. “Would you… like to join me?”

“Yes,” he said, “against my better judgment.”

“If it helps, I want you to.”

“It helps.”


plus a cool eternity bracelet from Etsy!

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In case you haven't read book 1 or 2 of the trilogy yet,  PERCEPTION is free and VOLITION is .99 until the launch.

About the Author

Lee Strauss writes historical and science fiction/romance for upper YA and adult readers. She also writes light and fun stuff under the name Elle Strauss. To find out more about Lee and her books check out her Facebook page. Follow her on Twitter to find out about new releases sign up for her newsletter at

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