Tag Archives for " dystopian "
Dindi is kidnapped to be the bride of a shark... To escape she must untangle a terrible curse caused by a love and magic gone wrong.
This stand-alone novella is set in Faearth, the world of The Unfinished Song. Available here ONLY.
The Unfinished Song - This Young Adult Epic Fantasy series has sold over 70,000 copies and has 1,072 Five Star Ratings on Goodreads.
I’m excited to feature the RONE Award-nominated Displaced by J.F. Jenkins.
Chevelle Donahue thought going into work would be just like any other boring day at the mall. Sure, there was her annoying co-worker Wicken Sanders, and a promotional visit from teen heartthrob Timber Hudson, to watch and keep her entertained. But who was she kidding? Working retail was lame no matter what happened.
A terrorist attack changes everything – an attack from aliens of all things. The patrons are given two options: comply or else. Complying means giving in to a new set of rules and changing her entire life. “Or else” means she has no chance of going home again.
She must figure out the truth behind why the aliens are holding everyone hostage. In doing so, she risks her chance at freedom – but by the time she learns what’s really happening, she might not want it.
I looked between the two guys standing between me and the doorway, wishing I could read their minds. They were both so quiet and I hated it. Earlier they each had rather strong opinions of what to think. Now there was nothing? Did I have to make the decision for all of us? I wasn’t sure if I could handle that kind of pressure, let alone live with the consequences.
But I wasn’t left with much of a choice.
“I guess we turn ourselves over,” I said quietly, my face half-buried into the large hippo’s synthetic gray fur.
Timber nodded, his shoulders hunched up around him, and he rubbed his arms slowly. His gaze hardly ever left his phone. The light bouncing off his eyes revealed a glistening of tears. If that wasn’t the look of defeat, I don’t know what was. Wicken was the exact opposite image. He remained confident and poised, his gaze strong and determined. The only hint that he might have been afraid was the slight shaking of his hands.
He looked down at me. “You don’t know what they’re going to do to us.”
“I know what will happen if we don’t agree to their terms, though,” I said softly. “Escaping is futile, not following instructions sounds dangerous. I personally do not want to die.”
“And you’re assuming they won’t mass execute everyone or pick us off one by one until their demands are met,” he snapped. “I think I like my chances better with escaping.”
Timber held his phone over his watch. “We have twenty-five more minutes to decide. Ten if you want to include time to walk down to the main entrance. I’m personally going to go along with them. I’m with her.” He pointed at me. “I’m not ready to die yet.”
“Then I guess this is where we go our separate ways,” Wicken said. Again, he looked as if I had betrayed him or something. There was a sadness in his tone laced with anger. His gaze met mine and for a moment his strong composure faltered. “Last chance, Chevelle.”
I shook my head, tears pooling in my eyes. “I’ll never make it. I’ll slow you down. I’ll be the reason you can’t get away.”
His hazel eyes closed and he reached over to hug me. Then he whispered in my ear with a shaky voice, “I love you.”
My gaze met his and I didn’t know what to say in return. Part of me was wondering if I even heard him right or if I imagined him talking in the first place because the words had barely been audible. When the sadness in his frown increased, I knew he had actually said it. He pushed his way past us and toward the back door.
“Wicken,” I whimpered. “I…” Felt the same way? Loved him too? None of that seemed right, though my heart did have a special fondness for him that I didn’t understand. We’d gotten close enough through all of our time together.
He waited in the doorway, waiting for me to finish my thought.
“I…s-same. Please be careful so we can talk about this again.”
He flashed me a small smirk. “Of course.”
And then he was gone.
Timber gave my shoulder a squeeze. “Come on. If we’re going to do this, we should go now before we waste any more time.”
I nodded and stood, never letting go of the hippo. That thing was coming with me, I didn’t care how stupid I looked. The girl brought along her teddy bear, and the three of us made our way out of the door using the light of our phones to make sure we didn’t trip over anything. Timber dropped down to pick up his bag of purchases from earlier on our way to the gate – the gate which was now open. Outside were bright blue lights which reminded me a lot of tiki torches. They were tall and illuminated with electric light instead of fire.
We followed the lights to the escalators which were now nothing more than an ordinary staircase leading us to our potential doom. Timber took the lead and with his free hand he held onto the little girl who had been forced into our care. Every so often he’d look back at me and give me a small smile, as if that were his way of silently telling me he’d take care of me too.
At the bottom of the stairs was the main entrance. There were not as many people there as I originally thought there would be. Somewhere between fifty and seventy individuals of mixed ages sat on the floor under the glow of the blue lights. What disturbed me was how many of them were parentless children or teenagers. The next-well represented age group was twenty-something-year-old women, then a few middle-aged couples, and an even less number of elderly. How many men tried to get away? What had happened to the mass of teenage girls who had been here earlier? There wasn’t any blood, and the only signs of struggle were a few tipped-over plants. Did they escape, or at least try to?
The three of us found an open spot on the floor and sat down near a group of crying children who couldn’t have been any older than nine or ten.
“Do you think my mommy will be here?” The little girl asked.
I shrugged. “Maybe!” I wanted to be hopeful for her. Maybe that’s why all of the kids had decided to congregate at the entrance too. They were looking for their parents as well.
Timber reached into his bag and pulled out a bag of gummy bears. The guy was like a walking candy shop. I wondered what else he bought. He opened up the bag and waved a few of the other kids over.
When our gazes met, he shrugged. “It’ll keep them from panicking or going into shock.” He looked me over. “So you know who I am, but I don’t think I’ve caught your name.”
“Chevelle,” I said softly.
“Like the band.” He smiled.
“I doubt that’s what my parents were thinking, but yes, like the band.”
He nudged the girl. “And what’s your name?”
“Lara,” she said in between bites of gummies.
“Nice to meet you Lara, I’m Timber.” He kept his voice low.
It was hard to tell if she recognized him or not. She was a little young to be a part of his fan base. I pegged her at about six years old. Still, kids were smart and observant. If she knew who he was, she didn’t care. She did, however, lean in closer to him to snuggle in a little.
“Will you stay with me until my mommy comes back?” She asked.
“Of course.” He smiled and showed off his perfect teeth again. They glowed in the blue light, and it was more than a little amusing to see. Lara giggled, and the sound was music to my ears and contagious. Soon I was laughing as well, if not quietly. Sure, we both got a couple of strange looks from some of the people sitting around us, but I didn’t care too much. A small lift in the tension was nice.
Not like it lasted long, because eventually our half-hour deadline was up. I’d been praying silently that Wicken would change his mind and come with us after all. He never showed.
First, a little about the books. A NA/Mature YA dystopian trilogy, they are full of action, love, and survival. Set in the not so distant future, two desserters fight to save each other while learning that the truth behind the twisted science keeping them alive.
Will they choose what’s safe? Or will they choose to survive?
Waterproof (Book 1)
Dying of thirst is the new reality.
Five years after the last drop of clean water disappeared, global societies collapsed and nuclear war shattered all hope of recovery. In a place now only a skeleton of its former self, survivors fight to avoid capture by the government. Forced to work in factories that produce the only drinking water available, those who go in, never come out.
Zach and Vivienne have lived as deserters since they were teenagers. Fighting amongst their own and scrounging for the necessities of life, they’ve learned to rely on each other in every way. Yet when tragedy strikes and the true objectives of the government facility are revealed, their world is ripped apart.
A fate once thought to hold their demise may be the sole answer to their survival. Who can they trust? Who can they believe?
And now a little about the fundraiser. Be sure to check it out because not only can you help support a great cause, but you can win a KINDLE FIRE HD!
From now until May 31st, Amber will donate 100% of the proceeds from EVERY sale of Waterfall and Waterproof (ebook AND paperback) to her month-long fundraiser for www.water.org. As The Water Crisis Chronicles is based in a dystopian society where war over clean drinking water has destroyed the world, this cause can help make sure that we don’t ever reach these extremes. You can read more about what inspired Amber to create The Water Crisis Chronicles here. In short, the world is sorely lacking in freshwater resources (drinking water), and it may be only a matter of time before we reach a pivotal point. Will we destroy the world with our wars? Maybe. Will we ever get the upper hand on the crisis? That’s the plan.
Let’s do what we can to help save the world. Everyone can conserve water, and everyone can support the non-profit organizations really out there in the field and making a difference for millions of people who can’t go to school or get out of poverty because they must search for water all day long.
So from April 30 to May 31, each time you buy one of the books from The Water Crisis Chronicles or donate directly to the cause, you can enter to win a Kindle Fire HD. Just $0.99 (the cost of Waterfall) or $2.99 (the cost of Waterproof) can go to support a worthy cause and help bring clean drinking water to those who need it most.
Today I’m excited to share the first book in the dark fantasy Survival Trilogy, Breaking Cadence.
I snorted softly. “You expect me to believe that you came to town looking for a cure? I’m not stupid, Zander. There is no cure. There never will be.”
“Oh there is,” he assured, staring right at me. “There has been for years.”
Decontaminated. Deflowered. Defunct.
Cadence Laurence has suffered pain and humiliation at the hands of the town committee, but the saving grace of her torture means nothing when her brother, Alex, and his girlfriend, Kitty, break the rules for the last time.
Now the only place they have left to go is on the run in the unforgiving Wastelands, a place where sand spiders and the Infected become the least of their problems when Cady’s ex-lover escapes her darkened past and deepens their plight with an agenda of his own.
Dodging Wastelanders out for blood and Kitty’s father determined for revenge, can Cadence avoid a bite from the Infected long enough to save her two wards and escape or will her ex-lover’s plans destroy them all?
Warning: Mature content with reference to criminal, adult-themed acts that may serve as triggers.
It was raining the day we were outcast. And I blamed him.
I drove my car over to their house, windscreen wipers flipping in the heavy downpour as my headlights grazed the row of small suburban bungalows. This was one of the more populated areas but the street was quiet. Nobody was out.
A streak of white caught my eye. My brother’s car sat comfortably in their driveway, engine off. I pursed my lips together and tugged my eye patch a little further down. I would be unwelcome, but they would just have to deal with that.
My car pulled smoothly to a stop, barely any noise emanating from the wheels in the kerbside puddles. The headlights died, leaving the faded ginger streetlamp the only light source. I took off a glove and wiped the rain residue from my brow as if it was sweat. It dripped from my sodden hair, staining my cheeks and clothes. I’d been walking when she’d called over to me, all filled up with panic. A stroll to reminisce would have to wait now.
The box on the seat behind was still there, strangely reassuring me in the rear view mirror. It was white and well cared for even though the dress, once entombed, was no longer inside.
But these things change.
Heavy hearted, I swallowed, glancing up at the house between the shadows of running rain on the window. If it had been anyone other than Sera who’d asked I wouldn’t have gone, but I’d sealed all our fates when I’d said yes to her.
Yet, hesitation clawed at me. He should be old enough to look after himself and to follow the rules, but obviously that was too much to ask for. This was not somewhere I’d choose to go. The cold windows of the house stared back.
I still remembered the family inside. They despised the tainted ones.
Tainted one. There was only me, now, to claim that title. All others had drifted away or died. I established the knife in my belt, just in case, and then stepped out of the car. The rain had grown heavier. It hit my coat like a shower of lead shot, reminding me of long days in the Wastelands. It was always heavy there when it came.
My key checked the car door with a soft chink like locking it would really matter in a place like this. My shadow cut a dark line in the dull orange light. The neighbours were probably watching behind their darkened curtains, but the street remained eerily quiet all except for the sound of the skittering rain. The silence didn’t bother me any more. I moved past my brother’s car, hand sliding across the cold, wet paintwork as I passed.
He would be inside the house courting the girl, but that was no excuse for taking that thing from Sera. He was getting us all into trouble.
I stepped up to the door and instead of simply turning the handle, I knocked. An uneasy feeling unfolded in my stomach like the separation of haemoglobin and plasma in a bag full of blood. Crimson and ochre. You were always supposed to knock, but I hadn’t knocked in a very long time.
The door opened filtering out a cold light. She stood there with curlers in her hair, feverish rings under her too wide eyes like a ventriloquist’s dummy. If her lips hadn’t compressed I might have mistaken her for one of the Infected. Her shock died down, her eyes tightened to small holes. It didn’t take a genius to work out that she’d recognised me.
“I don’t want you in my house.”
It wasn’t really her house; it was just one of many things inherited from long dead inhabitants, but there was little to gain from arguing with her. To her and plenty of others I was already outcast.
What was going to happen would make no difference to that.
“He’s here and I need to see him.” I raised an eyebrow at her impassive façade. “Is Maurice inside?”
Her eyes flared for half a second, telling me all I needed to know. Diplomacy wasn’t usually my strong point where committee members were concerned. My hands tightened into balls and I tried to soften my tone, gentle but unyielding.
“Let me in, Wilma. I’ll speak to my brother and I’ll be gone.” She didn’t inch from the door, her pincers curled around the wood. My gaze levelled on her, cool and calm. “I give you my word.”
“What good’s your word?” she hissed, retracting from the entrance nevertheless.
I stepped inside, moving smoothly past her as she recoiled. Frightened rabbit syndrome scratched her gaze. Once upon a time, I might have sympathised, but now I didn’t care having been treated to her cruel words and unkindness more than I deserved.
The kitchen felt loveless, the kind of place where food preparation had no passion and eating was a task forced in silence. It was a graveyard to fine dining, the pale bulb sluicing everything in a jaundiced light.
Wilma still held the door ajar, her eyes burning into my back. Her disdain hardly registered any more. Instead, I focused on the voices in the other room. The girl’s laughter wrinkled my nose. Silly teens. I pushed through the door, soft browns and pale creams divining nothing but a washed out heart of a so-called living room.
They were on the sofa. My brother saw me first, rolling his gaze and wrenching his lips into a twist of disgust. “If they sent you to spy on me–”
“You took Sera’s pet.” The words were hushed. “You know what’ll happen if they find it.” My hem dripped dark circles onto the faded carpet, pooling around my boots. My brother’s mouth moved into a line. I could see the cogs working in his skull, preparing his angry excuse. “I need to take it now, before you get us all into trouble.”
With nearly 100 reviews averaging over 4 stars, Tara Elizabeth’s Zoo is definitely worth a read.
A chronicle of my time living in a zoo . . . I’m not really sure where to start, and you may have trouble believing me even as I tell you my story. My family did. They laughed the first time I told them, so now I just say it was all a crazy dream. You see, I died in a totally preventable car accident . . . or so I thought. When I opened my eyes, I was shocked to discover that I had been resurrected into the year 2282 and, just as unbelievably, was locked up in a zoo! A HUMAN ZOO! Oh wait, I mean the People’s Past Anthropological Center.
The Global Government created the Centers because all of the different cultures of the world had, over centuries of time, slowly absorbed into one uniform culture. Everything and everybody felt the same, and the world didn’t like it. So, to help the people of 2282 find cultures they thought worthy to live their lives by, they used time travel to zap the people of the past into the future. They created enclosures to house their live human exhibits. And that’s what happened to me. I became a research project, a source of entertainment. I was a prisoner who was over two hundred years away from my family and friends.
Most of my time in the enclosure was spent trying to escape. I also made friends, lost friends, fell in love, was betrayed, was held captive within captivity, and lots of other fun stuff. There were some shocking moments and some devastating moments . . . It’s a lot to recount, but I’ll try my best to tell you all about my time travel . . . PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE.
I’m Emma, by the way.
DAY ONE – THE ENCLOSURE
When I woke up, I saw green, lots and lots of green. There were green plants, green trees, and green moss covered rocks. Underneath me was a cushion of green grass. I heard rushing water coming from somewhere nearby, but the pounding in my head dulled the pleasant sound. They drugged me, and my body did not like whatever they gave me. I stayed stretched out on the soft carpet of grass, trying to adjust to my surroundings.
“Hi there! About time you woke up,” a breezy, female voice chirped.
I slowly rolled my head in the direction of the voice. A girl about my age was sitting on a boulder staring at me. Her blonde hair was wild, like she took the time to tease it but used a twig to do it. Her eyes were a cool blue like a clear sky. Her dress was plain. It was made from what looked like burlap or some other horrible fabric (if you could even call it fabric). It looked completely out of place on her.
I was thinking about how awful it would be to wear something like that while I was scratching at my own skin. And sure enough, I had the same horrible fabric on. I was so mortified. I was wearing a brown sack that came to about mid-thigh, and when I checked, I discovered that I also had on tiny, bikini-cut panties. I was more of a boy short kind of girl.
“Where am I?” I asked the blonde girl.
“Didn’t they show you the film?”
“Yeah, but . . . ”
“Well, you’re in your new home.” She flipped her hair over her shoulder, and I almost expected her to start smacking on some gum.
I sat up and looked around. There was a small jungle toward the back of the enclosure with the rest of the area being flat land. The jungle was thick with ferns and trees. I could see a hint of a waterfall over some low hanging vines. At the front of the enclosure, on the flat land, I could see a small vegetable garden, a fruit tree, and a cow tied to a post. Half of the space was surrounded by a rock-wall, and the rest was encased by a glass-dome.
“This isn’t anything like where I came from,” I said aloud to myself and to the girl.
“Yeah, me neither. All I can figure is that they want to experiment by putting us in different environments and then seeing what happens.” The girl shrugged her shoulders. “So, what’s your name?”
“Emma David. You?”
The girl spewed a ton of information at me all at once. “Janice Hall. Grew up in Manhattan. Got into partying young. Overdosed on cocaine in a nightclub. Been in here alone for about a month. It’s good to have some company. I started talking to the cow a few days ago. Can you believe that? They could have at least put me in one of these things with some good neighbors or something.”
She completely overwhelmed me, and I didn’t know what to say in response. The thing that stuck out the most about her little speech was that she said she had overdosed. She looked too young to have had an overdose. “How old are you?” I finally asked her.
“Sixteen,” she answered nonchalantly, while inspecting her cuticles. Then she dropped down next to me and grabbed my hand to have a look at my nails. She was behaving like a monkey. I could recall watching them at a regular zoo. They would sit and pick at each other, searching for bugs or whatever nasty things inhabited their fur. It made me uncomfortable, but I was so focused on figuring her out, that I let her continue for a while longer.
Janice was so young and beautiful, and she was probably wealthy if she grew up in Manhattan. I’ve seen plenty of famous socialites on cable TV hit rock bottom before they hit 18. What a waste. Drugs were one thing that I never messed with, and she was a prime example of why.
“What year are you from?” I could tell she wasn’t from my time, even though we were dressed the same. There was something about her that was different, besides the New York accent.
She continued to look over my cuticles. I let her because it seemed to calm her down, which also helped my own nervous energy. She answered, “I was born in 1962. They ‘saved’ me in 1978.” She made air quotes with her fingers as she said the word “saved.” Then she asked me, “What about you?”
The time travel crap was starting to weird me out. I felt like my head was going to explode, but I held myself together long enough to answer her. “Um, I’m 17. I was born in 1995 and they ‘saved’ me in 2013 . . . This is crazy!” Nope. I couldn’t keep it together after all. Why was I sitting there making small talk with a strange girl? I needed to get the hell out of my new prison.
I ran over to the rock wall, searching for a door. Nothing. After I reached the glass front of our enclosure, where the public would be observing us from the other side, I beat my fists against the hard surface. I screamed and screamed and screamed.
Then, I screamed some more.
“Tried that already. It’s no use. Besides, the park’s not even open. Nobody’s here, silly,” Janice told me. She stood behind me, next to the cow, with her hand on her hip. I noticed she had fashionably tied some kind of vine around her waist to accentuate her curves under the hideous sack dress.
I didn’t care what she said, so I ignored her and kept beating the glass wall from one side all the way to the other. I went on that way until I reached a point where I could see into the enclosure next door. What I saw was unexpected.
Check out Breaking the Nexus, the first in Lindsay Avalon’s dark fantasy series. Book 2 is coming soon!
A homicide detective out of his element…
Demons? Magic? Strange realms filled with mythical creatures? Connor Flynn had no doubt these things existed…in the pages of fictional books. As a homicide detective, he knew evil, witnessed it every day on the job. Even when a series of ritualistic murders begin appearing, he looks to the evidence, not the supernatural. Until the day he found a mysterious woman sitting right in the middle of his latest crime scene. While he searches for a rational explanation, all signs indicate she materialized out of thin air.
A woman in a foreign land…
Locked in battle with a fierce hellbeast one minute, then lying in a pool of blood the next, Sha Phoenix has no idea what happened. A Sorceri within the Mythrian Realm, magic is a way of life, as she manipulates the elements of fire and water. She understands banshees, blood mages, and dragons, not waking to find a sexy detective accusing her of murder. Trapped in the Human Realm, she can be sure of only one thing: the barrier that separates her world from Connor’s is weakening by the minute.
A world on the brink of destruction…
Thrown together by fate, Sha and Connor must find a way to put a stop to a killer, bent on destroying the world as they know it.
The Nexus is breaking, and all hell is about to unleash…literally.
Check out this new YA dystopian series: The Breeders.
“When the Breeders come for ya, there ain’t no escape. They strap ya to a bed and all ya hear is the thud of your heart and the cries of your friends as they wheel ya down to hell. Then the doctors come. You squeeze your eyes shut and pray you can forget. But ya never do.”
Sixteen-year-old Riley Meemick is one of the world’s last free girls. When Riley was born, her mother escaped the Breeders, the group of doctors using cruel experiments to bolster the dwindling human race. Her parents do everything possible to keep her from their clutches– moving from one desolate farm after another to escape the Breeders’ long reach. The Breeders control everything- the local war lords, the remaining factories, the fuel. They have unchecked power in this lawless society. And they’re hunting Riley.
When the local Sheriff abducts the adult members of her family and hands her mother over to the Breeders, Riley and her eight-year-old brother, Ethan, hiding in a shelter, are left to starve. Then Clay arrives, the handsome gunslinger who seems determined to help to make up for past sins. The problem is Clay thinks Riley is a bender– a genderless mutation, neither male nor female. As Riley’s affection for Clay grows she wonders can she trust Clay with her secret and risk her freedom?
The three embark on a journey across the scarred remains of New Mexico– escaping the Riders who use human sacrifice to appease their Good Mother, various men scrambling for luck, and a deranged lone survivor of a plague. When Riley is forced into the Breeder’s hospital, she learns the horrible fate of her mother—a fate she’ll share unless she can find a way out.
When the dust cloud appears, we know they are coming.
My mama and I spy the cloud churning up the road at the same time. Her potato peeler clatters to the porch floor, sending goose flesh over my arms. I stare at the cloud kicked up by dozens of approaching tires and then back to my mother. There’s no mistaking it. The fear is written on her face.
She grips my shoulder, hand already shaking. “Get in the cellar.” Her face tightens. “Now.”
Her rocking chair scrapes against the porch floorboards. She yanks open the screen door and runs into the house, yelling for my brother.
I stand up, my own hands trembling now. The advance of the dust cloud has me riveted, like an animal caught in headlights. It’s what we’ve drilled for, prepared for, whispered about at night. And now they’re coming.
My mama’s frantic screams pierce my thoughts. “Riley, the storm cellar! Hurry!”
I shake myself out of my stupor and force my jellied legs to move. Running into the house, I spy my stepfather, Arn, at the pitted kitchen table. He slips round after round into his hunting rifle, his calloused fingers fumbling for more in the box that holds too few. He drops one. It hits on the floor and rolls under the table.
“Gawddammit!” he swears. His leathery forehead wrinkles as he searches frantically.
I run over, grab it and hand it to him. The bullet feels cold against my hot palm.
His eyes latch onto mine and a sadness creeps over his face. This frightens me more than anything. He grabs our pistol off the table and thrusts it forward. “You’ll need this.” His eyes say one gun won’t be enough.
The revolver is heavy and solid in my trembling hand. I curl my fingers over the wooden grip, worn smooth with use. I let my index finger stray to the trigger, place my other hand under the grip like he taught me and aim at the dust cloud. I look up at him, unable to ask what I need to know.
In this moment Arn looks old. His sun-beaten face is carved by wrinkles and his forehead is dotted with sweat. The patched overalls sag on his too-thin body. Before this he was out milking the cow or mucking out the barn, mundane, boring tasks that I wish he could go back to now. Arn grabs both my shoulders and fixes me with frightened blue eyes. “You ‘member what I taught you?”
“Is it the Breeders? It is, isn’t it?” My voice breaks with the terror that’s sticking to my insides and knotting my stomach. Arn says nothing. He doesn’t have to. His face tells me everything I need to know.
“I can fight.” The gun trembles, but I lock my elbows and grit my teeth. I want this chance to face the people who’ve been hunting us our whole lives.
Arn shakes his head, the lines around his mouth deepening. “Soon’s they see you, they’d kill the men and take the women. Get in the cellar. I’ll handle this.” His weathered hand squeezes mine. It’s the most affection he’s shown me in months. I savor the roughness of his palm. Then, quick as it came, he drops my hand and goes back to slipping bullets into his rifle, his eyes marking the approach of our enemies.
From behind me: “Riley?!” My mama is near hysterics.
“Coming!” I sprint through the old farmhouse, the boards moaning beneath my feet. I skid to a stop at our bedroom and scan it for my brother. Both beds lay empty. Ethan’s boots lie on their sides under his bed. His comic book is forgotten on the floor. He’d never leave it there on a normal day. But this isn’t a normal day. Angry motors growl closer. How soon before they get here? Minutes? Seconds?
I burst through the back door. The storm cellar sits fifteen paces from the house, dug deep in the ground. When we moved in six months ago, my mama showed us the cellar that, when shut, folds neatly into the dusty landscape. We’ve taken pains to camouflage the doors, but will it be enough?
The cellar doors yawn wide, revealing the dark earthen hole. My mama crouches at the cellar’s mouth, her hand-sewn cotton dress gathering around her knees. My little brother, Ethan, descends the ladder. His hand clutches her scarred one for a moment before he disappears into shadow. He’s gone. An urge to sob washes over me. I bite it back and run over.
My mama turns, searching for me. From this angle she is breathtaking in her loveliness. Her shoulder-length black hair shines in the hazy sunlight, and her left cheek is supple and pink. She’s a beauty queen, a ten as Auntie says. It’s the other side of her face that marks the horrors she’s seen. Red angry burn scars travel her neck and face. Her skin bunches and grooves like a pitted dirt road. Her left ear is only a ragged, red hole. Yet, I rarely notice her burned face. This is the way she’s looked as long as I can remember.
I step to the edge of the cellar and peer at my brother. From the bottom of the hole, his eyes are wide as a jackrabbit’s caught in my snare. His lower lip trembles. He looks five instead of eight. “It’s okay,” I lie.
My mother grips my shoulder and presses down. “Get in.” Her voice is a choked whisper. She glances back at the dust plume. The gray cloud hangs huge, blocking out the horizon, a tornado set to tear our world apart.
I take a step back and narrow my eyes. “You first.”
“I have to get Bell.” She looks towards the upstairs window.
I grip her arm. “No! They won’t take Auntie. She’s too old.”
My mama pulls me to her chest in a brief hug. Then she scrambles out of my clutches. I claw for her dress, but she’s gone. “Don’t go!”
“I love you!” she yells over her shoulder, her voice full of tears. The back door thwacks as she disappears inside it.
“Come back!” I yell, but it’s too late.
I stare at the door, wondering if I’ll ever see her again.
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The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
MockingJay – Suzanne Collins
Divergent – Veronica Roth
Insurgent – Veronica Roth
Incarnate – Jodi Meadows
For Darkness Shows the Stars – Diana Peterfreund
Legend – Marie Lu
Prodigy – Marie Lu
Graceling – Kristin Cashore
Fire – Kristin Cashore
Initiate – Tara Maya
Taboo – Tara Maya
Sacrifice – by Tara Maya
Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas
Falling Kingdoms – Morgan Rhodes
Poison Study – Maria V. Snyder
Magic Study – Maria V. Snyder
Fire Study – Maria V. Snyder
Twilight – Stephenie Meyer
New Moon – Stephenie Meyer
Eclipse – Stephenie Meyer
Breaking Dawn – Stephenie Meyer
Team Human – Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan
City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
City of Ashes – Cassandra Clare
City of Glass – Cassandra Clare
City of Fallen Angels – Cassandra Clare
The Iron King – Julie Kagawa
The Iron Daughter – Julie Kagawa
The Iron Queen – Julie Kagawa
The Iron Knight – Julie Kagawa
Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Beautiful Darkness – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Beautiful Chaos – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Beautiful Redemption – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Pivot Point – Kasie West
15 Minutes – Jill Cooper
Mind Games – Kierstan White
My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century – Rachel Harris
Waterfall – Lisa Bergen
The Emperor’s Edge – Lindsay Buroker
Dark Currents – Lindsay Buroker
Deadly Games – Lindsay Buroker
Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Prince – Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Princess – Cassandra Clare
The Girl in the Steel Corset – Kady Cross
Lady of Devices – Shelley Adina
Soulless – Gail Carriger
Today I’m excited to feature the third volume in Summer Lane’s YA dystopian science fiction Collapse series: State of Rebellion.
Everything has changed. After a devastating ambush that left the militia group Freedom Fighters struggling to survive, Cassidy Hart has been lucky to escape with her life. Along with her Commander and former Navy SEAL Chris Young, she’s made a shocking discovery concerning the whereabouts of her father. The militias have moved further into the mountains. And the secret that is kept there will come with a price. But when the National Guard arrives, Cassidy is faced with a choice that will force her to decide between her friends and her family. Omega is getting stronger. The fight for freedom looms on the horizon. It’s all or nothing. And Cassidy has no intention of giving up.
Today I’m excited to feature the dystopian science fiction series, The ELE Series.
His hair is so dark that it nearly looks black on most days. Today, when I look at it just the right way I can see the deep brown and chestnut colors that stand out underneath the light. I also notice that his eyebrows furrow in and his eyes squint ever so slightly when he’s concentrating. It’s endearing.
I inch myself closer so I can see more of his eyes. The deep emerald green that he once had is now completely replaced with the most unique shade of navy blue that I’ve ever seen. It starts out dark, almost black around the outer part of his eye and then fades into a lighter, yet still navy shade of blue as it leads into his pupils. Both of his eyes are completely changed and I wonder why only one of mine has changed.
“What are you doing?” I know I’m blushing and it’s possible that I should feel self-conscious, but nothing about Alec’s stare makes me feel unsure of myself. If anything the look that he’s giving me makes me feel beautiful and more confident.
“I figured if you got to study me for an uninterrupted five minutes then I should get to do the same to you.” He smiles.
“Oh, you saw that?” I push some of my hair behind my ear.
He nods his head but continues to appraise me.
My body feels warm and flush and the butterflies are dancing around again in my stomach. The silence is killing me so I decide to break it. “So, what exactly are you studying?”
“Hmm, an exquisite specimen really.” He says in his best official scientific voice.
After a mysterious virus makes its way into the United States, the government demands that states seal themselves off from one another and do their best to protect their surviving residents. When the state of Florida is bordered off from the surrounding states, Taylen Fincher, a seventeen-year-old girl with a yearning for her former life finds herself wondering how much of what they’ve been told is true.
When Troum took control of the state, he told the residents that the other states had fallen to the virus and that he wouldn’t allow the same thing to happen to them. But Taylen doesn’t believe it. She insists that there is still life outside of the state, and she is going to do whatever it takes to prove it… but her actions will cost her more than she ever expected.
Troum kidnaps Taylen’s sister, Penelope, in hopes of coaxing her into behaving – into being a submissive resident, much like the others. But Taylen isn’t one to give in that easily.
Eager to rescue her sister, Taylen will set out on an adventure that’ll force her to open her heart to the unexpected and to uncover secrets that will change everything.
Get Submerged on Amazon.
“What’s wrong, princess? You couldn’t stand to be away from me?” He winked.
“You are aware that I have a knife in my pocket, correct?” I reminded him. “I’d be more than happy to use it if you’re going to continue being a jerk-face.”
He burst into laughter, his body vibrating the mattress. “Anyway, back to what I was saying.” He ran his fingers along my spine. Goosebumps developed over my body, alerting me of just how close he was. “We have to locate Troum’s headquarters. If we find his headquarters, we’ll find Penelope.”
It sounded easy enough, but nothing was ever that simple.
Not with Troum.
I lay down beside Glate and closed my eyes. I thought that escaping the Family Sector would bring me a sense of happiness, but it didn’t. It only brought me more pain. Lex and his men were still searching for me, and I’d yet to rescue Penelope. Nothing was going as planned. I should have had Penelope by now. I should have been half way out of this state, not curled up on a mattress with a boy that I hardly knew.
That wasn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy Glate’s presence because I did. He was the comfort that I needed; the only thing keeping me sane throughout the chaos. It wouldn’t be hard to fall for Glate, hell, it’d be easy, and that frightened me.
Even though I wouldn’t admit it, I was still heartbroken over Lex. He was the boy that I had grown up with. He was my best friend. He was someone that I thought would always be there, someone that I could start a life with, and then he betrayed me.
And it was his betrayal that led me to Glate.
Being this close to him, with his body pressed against mine, it felt wrong; wrong because I barely knew him, wrong because he wasn’t Lex, and wrong because I didn’t want him to leave.
What is wrong with me? I thought.
“Taylen,” Glate whispered, wrapping his arm around my waist. “Are you okay?”
Was I okay? No. I was a complete and utter wreck, but there was no way in hell I was going to show him that. “I’m dandy.”
“You’re a terrible liar.” He propped himself up on his elbow, and leaned in closer, resting his chin on my shoulder. My body was well aware of how close he was, and it took everything in me to fight the urge to turn and face him. Teenage hormones were the absolute worst. “You know how I can tell?” he asked, running a single finger down my arm.
“How?” the word barely escaped my lips.
“Your voice trembles,” he whispered. Glate moved his hand to my hips and pulled me back towards him. “Whenever you lie, you get this slight tremble in your voice. It’s almost as if you’re scared to admit the truth, so you try to conjure up a lie, but the fear engulfs your words on the way out, calling your bluff.”
He pressed his lips against my neck, and my body quivered, welcoming the feel of his mouth against my skin.
The right thing to do would have been to move away, to tell Glate that this wasn’t right because it wasn’t right. I was supposed to be rescuing my sister, not getting it on with the first cute guy I met outside of our Sector. But every cell in my body was eager for his touch.
Get Submerged on Amazon.