Dark Waltz (A Praestani Novel)

By: A. M. Hargrove


With every book I write, it seems this part gets longer and longer...and for that I’m grateful. When I first started this new thing called writing, I never knew it would take me in this direction and all I can say is, wow, what a ride it’s been!

So, as always, I want to start by thanking my family first for all their support: TAC and McIntyre (the greatest kids EVER) and my husband Henry. You’re the ones that have to listen to it all, from beginning to end, so thanks for being there. I love you all!

Next, thanks to my amazing team of beta readers. I almost don’t know where to start here.

Terri Thomas, what would I do without you? In this book, as I bit my nails while writing all those scenes (you know the ones I’m talking about *wink*), you were the one that guided me through that whole process. Thanks for all your guidance in the steam factor department!

Shelly Greninger, well, what can I say, except your words spun some magic and it sure shows throughout these pages. I still can’t believe all the help you sent my way, considering you did it all by hand. I’m humbled and amazed by the amount of hard work you put in...just wow!

Laurie Lewis...I’m sorry you were so sick and had to miss work, but I’m supremely happy Dark Waltz was in your hands and filling that void on the day you were ill! Your suggestions were greatly appreciated and I’m glad you made a quick recovery. Thank you my friend.

And finally, Midu Hadi, you’re so thorough and honest as you gave me your opinions and made this a better story in every way. I wish I could borrow your brilliant mind every once in a while (I promise I’d return it...really!). You amaze me daily.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Juls Sumner and Alana Rock for their input on Dark Waltz as well. Although you don’t think you helped much, your opinions meant a lot to me, so thanks for sending them my way ladies! Thanks, too, to my special friend Tana Troniak. I don’t know how you keep up with everything you do, but I am so grateful that you do. You’re one the kindest and most helpful people I’ve ever met. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t see that big smiley face on Goodreads every day.

Thanks, too, to my friend Fiona Hunt, who took the time to proofread Dark Waltz. Oh, and thanks for those great suggestions on what I need to read next! Keep sending them my way girl!

Now, on to the fun. I couldn’t write this without acknowledging some of my wonderful author friends, whom I speak to quite frequently for support, laughs, opinions and, well, you name it. So here’s to Janelle Stalder, Lila Felix, Martha Bourke and John Corwin. Thanks for all the fun everyone! You guys are amazing. I would like to extend a very special thanks to the incredible Misty Provencher for all the time she spent with me on the phone, assisting me with various things from tech issues to reading scenes from Michele Leighton’s hot new book, Down To You (and thanks too, Michelle!). Thank God for free long distance! You’ve been such a huge help to me Misty…big hugs to you girl. And here’s to all you Indie Authors out there! Even though we may not speak live, I’ve talked with you through Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook and email and I’ve appreciated the information I’ve learned from each of you more than I can ever say.

This acknowledgment page would be incomplete without mentioning all the girls at the BGC on Goodreads: Tana, Terri, Janelle, Gin, Ruth, Juls, Nicole, Karla, Midu, Alana, Heather, Maghon, Jennifer and Diana. Thanks for all the unbelievable laughs and ridiculously funny things we’ve shared! I dare not mention any of them here because, well, you all know why!

I have to recognize my good friend and mentor, the incredible author Brian Rathbone. Without his knowledge of this industry and his willingness to help, I’m sure I would be wandering around aimlessly out there, still trying to figure out how to self publish my first book. Thanks so much Brian!

And finally...thank you God, for sending Jennifer Nunez my way. I’m still not sure how that all happened. I think it might have been Twitter or Goodreads, but whatever it was, I’m sure glad because I don’t know what I would do without that wonderful lady. By the way, she’s my editor, the one that keeps my books in line, catches all my goof ups and all that! Thanks Jenn! dp

Chapter 1

The Planet Vesturon, 2030

Sarah turned her head as she heard footsteps approach.

“Well?” she asked the Guardian as he came to a halt in front of her.

“I think you may have something here.”

“Go on.”

“I have accessed all of Thomas’ Guardian records via the official CompSys and they’ve been wiped clean. It’s as if your brother never existed.”

“What? That’s impossible!” Sarah jumped to her feet and came nose to nose with Shandro Tellus.

“Please Sarah, you need to remain calm. If you can’t, I’ll be compelled to use my Power of Tranquility on you. I, more than anyone, realize the disappearance of his documents is highly irregular.”

“Don’t you dare use any of your Vesturion Powers on me, including Tranquility! I do not need to be lulled into a false sense of security right now. And you call this ‘irregular?’ You have got to be kidding me Shandro. People don’t just disappear out of the CompSys. I knew it. I just knew it!” Sarah began pacing, her mind spinning with all sorts of horrific scenarios.

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