How can you get a FREE COPY OF TAKEN? Just follow these simple instructions:
1. Pre-order or purchase VALIANT. Send your receipt (a screenshot is fine!) to merrie (at) merriedestefano (dot) com.
2. Or send a link to a review for VALIANT that you have posted online. You may have read the book through NetGalley or received a free ARC or read the book at your local library. All of these are fine (yay for reading and reviewing!), as long as you post a review online. Send the review link to merrie (at) merriedestefano (dot) com.
FREE Novella Sequel to VALIANT: RELEASE 12.10.18
The Valiant was supposed to save us. Instead, it triggered the end of the world.
Aliens have invaded Earth and Sara, a seventeen-year-old girl, has been given the task of saving humanity. To save the world, she only has to do one thing: keep her brother Gabriel alive until morning. But those of you who have already read VALIANT know that something goes horribly wrong with that simple plan.
Now you can read chapters that were in the original version of VALIANT, told from the perspective of fourteen-year-old Gabe. If you've wondered where he is, what he's been thinking, and what he's been doing, now you get a chance to find out!
This 15,000-word novella is only available to people who have either pre-ordered/purchased, OR read and reviewed an advance copy of VALIANT. Why? Because TAKEN contains crucial elements and spoilers that could wreck your first-reading experience of VALIANT.
HOWEVER, TAKEN IS FREE!! See the details to the left.
For fans of The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancy, The Host by Stephanie Meyer, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, The Terminator, Body Snatchers, and Edge of Tomorrow.
REVIEWS FOR VALIANT
"An imaginative, fresh take on the time travel novel. Valiant has it all: breakneck adventure, high stakes, a kick-ass heroine, and a time-twisting narrative. Seriously captivating sci-fi.” —Tosca Lee, New York Times bestselling author of The Progeny
“Valiant is Edge of Tomorrow in a post-apocalyptic future, and Destefano’s Sara has the grit of Sarah O’Connor as she fights to save the people she loves.” – Jane, NetGalley
“You bet this book ends up on my keeper shelves once my print copy arrives…” – Carien, Goodreads
“I would recommend this book to fans The 5th Wave and The Darkest Minds.” – Vivian, Goodreads
Overhead, the sky still glistens with fireworks. Purple and orange starbursts that explode like summer flowers and then drift down to the ground like stardust. Some people are still partying, loud music and laughter echoing through the city streets. Some people still think that today is the best day that ever happened and that, next year, this will be a national holiday.
As if there’s going to be a next year.
My girlfriend, Ella and I scramble down the fire escape, as fast as we can, her long red hair flying behind her. She almost looks like she’s on fire, her hair’s so bright. Every now and then, I catch a glimpse of her, a bandanna pulled over her nose and mouth like a bandit, her pale green eyes open wide.
She’s terrified, I can tell.
So am I.
The invasion came exactly when my sister said it would.
Right after the Valiant launched.
The rooftop shook and trembled, almost like an earth tremor. No big deal, not here in Southern California. Except this was no frigging earthquake. It was a million times worse.
I didn’t believe my sister.
Seriously, if someone told you they could travel through time and that they’d seen you die over and over, and that there was going to be an alien invasion, would you believe them?
Not in a million light years.
My point exactly.
Meanwhile, two of my sister’s friends are with us, Natalie and Billy, running alongside us like they’re our guardians.
But my sister Sara is still up on the roof.
With the aliens.
Already people are jumping off the roof because what’s going on up there is so bad.
“Sara!” I yell up at her, hoping she can hear me, hoping I’ll see her and know she’s okay. “Hurry up!”
My sister’s best friend Natalie frowns at me. “Down the stairs,” she says. “Don’t worry about Sara. Justin will take care of her.”
Justin’s a Genetic, so yeah, he can probably take care of almost anything.
I nod and swallow, tugging my bandanna and making sure it covers my mouth.
Then the fire escapes sways, as if the moorings are coming loose. People are climbing on, trying to get down from the roof, away from those silver alien monsters that want nothing more than to annihilate us. In their universe, we’re like cockroaches. Or cattle. Or snakes.
Something to be exterminated or devoured. Or both.
We run and we jump and we land in the alley. I glance up and see Sara, finally racing down the fire escape with Justin. They look okay and, for a moment, I’m glad and I think, maybe we’re going to make it after all. I stop and cup both hands around my mouth, ready to shout up to her, but Natalie pushes me toward the street.
“You’re like Public Enemy Number One to these aliens, Gabe, and it’s my job to make sure they don’t catch you,” she says.
All four of us—Natalie, Billy, Ella, and me—dash down the narrow alley toward the street.
Even though Sara told me all hell would break loose after the Valiant launched, I never expected this. My time-traveling sister gave me details, scary details, more than I wanted to know. Stuff like, she’s seen me die and these aliens can get inside you and possess you and then it’s game over.
Still, there was no way I could believe her.
Until now. Until I saw it for myself.
I skid to a halt, unintentionally pulling Ella to a stop too since I’m holding her hand.
The street in front of us is now lined with tall, slender aliens and, for a moment, I think, We can beat these guys, they don’t look all that strong. I remember the scene in the movie Independence Day when Will Smith clocked that alien. Light outs, alien jerk.
Then, right when I think I’ve got a game plan that involves punching one of these shiny creeps, they use their secret weapon.
All at once, their bodies dissolve into smoke.
“Put on your bandannas!” Natalie screams.
The alien smoke sails across the street and down the throats of the people who stand there, gaping, mouths open. They fall to the ground, flailing and shaking and clutching at their throats, but they can’t stop the thick plume of smoke that flows into their lungs.
Ella and I yank our bandannas into place. We had them on—back up on the roof—because my sister made us wear them, draped across our mouths and noses like we’re twenty-first-century bank robbers. But those blasted things slipped down when we jumped off the fire escape and I forgot to pull mine back up.
“Hurry up,” Billy says to me.
I thought those people on the ground were dying, choking to death, but now they’re all climbing back to their feet.
Holy crap, it feels like I got stuck in a zombie movie.
“Station One!” Natalie yells.
That’s code for where we’re supposed to go next, except I don’t remember. I’m like a computer when the hard drive has been wiped. I always thought science fiction was the bomb, like the best thing ever created; then I see this—a frigging alien invasion where people look like they’re coming back from the dead—and I’m worse than a deer in headlights.
Fear trembles through my veins, hot and dark; my stomach clenches. The only thing I can think about is, This is my first real date with Ella and I brought her to an alien apocalypse. I’m going to throw up.
I’m about to lose any small amount of cool I have.
That’s when ‘worse’ finds me, front and center.
A big guy, at least six-foot-five, charges toward me, screaming my name, and he slams his fist in my face.
I don’t even have time to wonder how he knows my name or why he’s attacking me...
All content © 2017, Merrie Destefano