Spotlight & Giveaway: The Final Dawn by Jess Anastasi | Harlequin Junkie | Blogging about Books Leave a comment

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Jess Anastasi to HJ!


Hi Jess and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, The Final Dawn!

Hello! Thanks for having me here. And hello to all the readers out there!

Please summarize the book a la Twitter style for the readers here:

The war for the galaxy might already be lost, but they’ll fight until the last star burns out.

Please share the opening lines of this book:

There was something soothing about the late hours of the night. Ella Kinton breathed in the humid air, heavy enough with moisture it felt like it brushed over her skin. A storm was coming—both gathering in the air around her and building in her chest.


Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

  • This book is (sadly) the last in the Atrophy series.
  • Many readers will be excited to learn this is (at last!) Rian and Ella’s story.
  • This book features the return of some fan-favorite characters from previous books.
  • The cover artist did an AMAZING job of capturing Ella and this is maybe my favorite cover on any of my books ever.
  • If all goes as planned, this may not be the last we see of Rian and the crew of the Imojenna…


What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?

Rian and Ella’s story technically began way back in the first book of the series. Rian accidentally rescued Ella from some bad people, and the sparks were instant. Unfortunately, both of them are unbelievably stubborn and as a result, have basically spent two years dancing around one another. Talk about frustrating!

Using just 5 words, how would you describe Hero and Heroine’s love affair?

1) Rocky
2) Unpredictable
3) Frustrating
4) Steamy
5) Destined.

The First Kiss…

“We have time here, Ella. Time for all that later.” He used his hold on her hand to tug her closer, even as he stepped into her space. “Nothing out there can touch us in here. In here we’re safe, and we’re real, and nothing else matters.”
Her mind spun, grappling to make sense of it all, but her thoughts scattered as Rian’s body pressed up against hers and he gently slid his hand into her hair. He tilted her head, and her breath stalled as he leaned closer. She expected the usual panic to rise within her, telling her this was too much. That they could never and should never be this. But there was nothing. Nothing but warmth and yearning and a blooming sense of rightness. With nothing else between
them—not their pasts, not their weaknesses or fears or mistakes—it felt inevitable, meant to be, coming home when she hadn’t even known she’d been lost.
“Can you feel it?” Rian whispered against her lips, a breath of sweet, warm air and the barest brush of his mouth against hers, sending a shudder cascading through her entire body. “Can you feel it there between us?”
She closed her eyes, sinking into the sensation. It was like a feedback loop; their entanglement was strengthening and deepening, sending waves of warmth and euphoria ebbing back and forth between them. She could feel Rian’s heart beating as surely as if it were her own. There was no longer any distinction between her want and his need, they had become the same pulsing spark. It was color and sensation and the entire universe shrank down to the simplicity that they belonged together on an elemental level, the same way starlight belonged sprinkled across the black velvet of the galaxy. It was the knowledge that nothing would ever be the same and they couldn’t come back from this. Yet it was more right than simple words could express.
Reality shifted, reformed, and suddenly everything made sense in a way it never had before.
“I feel it.” Her reply was barely more than an exhale, and the words needlessly said aloud because he knew without her speaking.
Just like she knew when he shifted slightly and the last wisp of space between them disappeared. The light brush of his mouth against hers became the gentle, insistent cling of a lingering kiss. It became the sensual slide of his lips over hers. It became the building heat and drugging pleasure of his tongue tracing the shape of her lower lip and then gliding against hers.


Without revealing too much, what is your favorite scene in the book?

When Rian sacrifices himself to his inner darkness to save Ella from the badguys:

“What are you doing?” Niels demanded.
Rian went deep inside himself to a place he’d never voluntarily ventured. To the place where the darkness seethed and infected everything it touched. That place the Reidar had created all those years ago when their experiments and torture had driven him so far inside himself, there’d been nothing left but that brimming darkness. This was exactly where they’d been trying to send him ever since he’d escaped them, thinking they could take him back and control him through the iniquitous shadows of his deepest mind. They’d asked for it. And now they could deal with the
“Checking out,” he muttered.
If Niels said anything back, he didn’t hear it. He was too busy sinking deeper. Embracing the darkness. Becoming the darkness. And then the darkness was complete.


If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would be absolutely crucial to include?

The final battle, when everything is on the line and the entire universe is in the balance:

“Send the confirmation,” Rian replied, never wanting to give an order less. How many of those ships would be nothing but debris floating in space when this was all over? “We go at the top of the hour as planned.”
Lianna murmured an agreement and then relayed the confirmation across the channel.
Ten minutes.
Ten minutes that both stretched too long in front of him but also slipped away so much faster than should be possible.
Lianna didn’t say anything when the hour struck, simply boosted the engines and put them into immediate motion. On the viewscreen, their trajectory showed as blue, while the rest of the converging ships showed as yellow with little flashing ID numbers next to them.
Like the last time they’d visited this system, nothing happened until they got within the system proper. And then all hell broke loose.


Readers should read this book …

If they’re a fan of high action sci fi like Firefly, Star Wars, Killjoys, etc.


What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?

I’m between projects at the moment, and am actually in the process of deciding what to work on next. I will have a paranormal romance releasing on the Kiss app later in the year, so if you’re a fan of mixed paranormal stories (featuring vamps, werewolves, witches, etc) then download the Kiss app and keep an eye out for that!


Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: A $10 Amazon gift card

The first book in the Atrophy series is currently free on Amazon! Grab a copy today and read every slow burn moment of Rian and Ella’s relationship from the very start!

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: In honor of Rian and Ella’s long, slow burn ship over the entire series, I’d love to hear from readers about what slow-burn romance you’ve both hated and loved over the course of a book or TV series. Two of my favorites would have to be #Stydia (Styles & Lydia) from Teen Wolf and #Delana (Damon and Elena) on the Vampire Diaries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Excerpt from The Final Dawn:

Once the Reidar weapons were all locked away—along with a few other bits of contraband the authorities didn’t need to find—there was nothing to do but gather the crew in the cargo hold and wait for the IPC military attaché to arrive.
Rian pulled out his comm and stared at the pair of messages, one from Zahli and the other from Ella, debating whom to call. No offense to his sister, but he probably wouldn’t get a straight conversation out of her—she’d be too busy being pissed off and yelling at him to do something about their likely imminent arrest. Never mind the rest of them, she’d lose her shite when she realized Tannin was headed back to Erebus.
He thumbed the icon for Ella and waited while the subspace connection went through. As the crew quietly arranged themselves behind him, the sound of another ship’s airlock connecting to the outside of their atmo doors warned they had a bare few minutes of freedom left.
“Rian, thank the deity. We’ve been trying to comm you,” Ella answered, her tone unusually ruffled.
“If it was to warn me about the ambush waiting for us when we came out of the Davron Transit Gate, I’m sorry to say that shite has already hit the bulkheads.”
“Damn it, Rian!” Zahli exclaimed. Ella must have had him on speaker. “Get out of there now. Ella thinks her brother—”
“It’s too late, Zahli,” he said in a low voice, hating what this was going to do to his sister but infinitely glad she and Ella were safe and away from all this.
“But you have to—”
“It’s too late,” he repeated firmly with a note of finality, causing Ella to take in a sharp breath and Zahli to mutter a broken curse. “We’re about to be boarded. I’m guessing we’ll find ourselves with rat-infested lodgings on Erebus before the day is out. But there’s nothing either of you can
do about it, so don’t even try.”
The low, hissing hum of an airlock pressurizing on the other side of his atmo doors silenced what little talk had been going on among the crew behind him.
“I know you, Zahli. I can guess what you’re thinking,” he continued quickly. “But I’m telling you right now, the best thing you can do is lie low and do whatever it takes to stay safe. If that means going with the Mar’keish, then I want you both to pack a bag and leave Tripoli immediately. I’ll watch out for Tannin. You have my word.”
“Not just Tannin,” Zahli said, her voice thick. “All of you. You’re the only family I’ve got. I can’t lose you all.”
“Consider Erebus a small hitch.” He tried to inject a note of levity and confidence. “Do you really think there’s anywhere in the universe that can hold me for long if I don’t want to be there?”
Zahli gave a watery laugh. “Maybe it’ll do your ego some good.”
“Right. So take care of each other, and before you know it, we’ll all be together again.”
Maybe he didn’t fully believe the words, maybe he had no idea how in the freck he was going to get his crew through this situation, but he needed them to all believe he would, needed Zahli and Ella to believe everything would be fine, because one thing the war and Reidar had taught him was that as soon as people became demoralized, as soon as they believed they couldn’t win or things wouldn’t work out, the battle was more than halfway lost.
A chime sounded indicating the IPC contingent were waiting for them to unlock their doors, and Rian nodded at Lianna to do the honors, feeling like his stomach was full of lead.
“I have to go, but I’ll contact you when I can.”
Zahli said good-bye, and then there was silence. He thought Ella had disconnected the call without saying anything to him, but he realized he could hear a faint rustling and slight intake of breath as if she was walking or moving somewhere.
“Rian,” she finally said in a soft, quiet voice, like she didn’t want to be overheard.
“What’s up, princess?” he asked flippantly while the atmo doors in front of him began to open.
“I’m sorry I didn’t figure out what Isiah had planned sooner.”
“No use saying sorry when it wasn’t your fault.”
Damn Kinton, the pretentious cock. One single thought of the man was enough to set his temper into an inferno. The priest had played his hand well, removed him from the equation neatly and precisely, leaving Ella that much more vulnerable.
“I suppose there’s no point in telling you to be careful.” Her words sounded almost wistful, and she followed them with a sigh he swore rippled over his skin.
“Don’t worry about me, Ella. Just concentrate on staying safe.”
The atmo doors finished opening to reveal a contingent of soldiers and a man in a uniform bearing the stars and stripes of an admiral. Huh. So they’d sent the top brass to personally deal with him. He certainly had moved up in the world.

Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Book Info:

Rian Sherron is a lot of things. Captain of the spaceship Imojenna. Ex-war hero. Ex-assassin. For years, he’s traveled from one end of the galaxy to the other, both trying to escape his demons and get revenge on the shape-shifting aliens responsible for his slow demise into hell.

That all changed the day Rian rescued an Arynian priestess from slave traders. Ella Kinton is everything Rian both fears and admires. Ella is everything he never let himself admit he wanted. Together, they must face a harrowing choice—come together and defeat the Reidar, or fall apart, leaving the universe in total chaos.

Each book in the Atrophy series is STANDALONE but it is best enjoyed in order.
* Atrophy
* Quantum
* Diffraction
* Entropy
* The Final Dawn
Book Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Goodreads |

Meet the Author:

Jess has been making up stories ever since she can remember. Though her messy handwriting made it hard for anyone else to read them, she wasn’t deterred and now she gets to make up stories for a living. With a multi-award-winning science fiction romance series to her name, her books feature larger than life heroes with relatable vulnerabilities who find themselves in situations that push their resolve to the limit. Jess is a tea-addict who loves loud music, dancing in her kitchen and a good book on a rainy day. A fangirl at heart, she probably spends too much time watching too many TV shows. Jess lives in regional Victoria, Australia.
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