Welcome to Two Chicks on Books!!!

Thanks for stopping by! Leave comments if you'd like, I'd love to hear from you :)


Friday, August 22, 2014

Cover Reveal- VESSEL by Lisa T. Cresswell and a Giveaway

M9B-Friday-Reveal
Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

VESSEL by Lisa T. Cresswell

presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
LCresswell_Vessel_M9B_eCover_1800x2700
The sun exploded on On April 18, 2112 in a Class X solar storm the likes of which humankind had never seen.

They had exactly nineteen minutes to decide what to do next.

They had nineteen minutes until a geomagnetic wave washed over the Earth, frying every electrical device created by humans, blacking out entire continents, and every satellite in their sky.

Nineteen minutes to say goodbye to the world they knew, forever, and to prepare for a new Earth, a new Sun.

Generations after solar storms destroyed nearly all human technology on Earth, humans reverted to a middle ages-like existence, books are burned as heresy, and all knowledge of the remaining technology is kept hidden by a privileged few called the Reticents.

Alana, a disfigured slave girl, and Recks, a traveling minstrel and sometimes-thief, join forces to bring knowledge and books back to the human race. But when Alana is chosen against her will to be the Vessel, the living repository for all human knowledge, she must find the strength to be what the world needs even if it's the last thing she wants.
add to goodreads
Title: Vessel
Publication date: May 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Lisa T. Cresswell
Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author
Lisa T. Cresswell
Lisa, like most writers, began scribbling silly notes, stories, and poems at a very young age. Born in North Carolina, the South proved fertile ground to her imagination with its beautiful white sand beaches and red earth. In fifth grade, she wrote, directed and starred in a play "The Queen of the Nile" at school, despite the fact that she is decidedly un-Egyptian looking. Perhaps that's why she went on to become a real life archaeologist?

Unexpectedly transplanted to Idaho as a teenager, Lisa learned to love the desert and the wide open skies out West. This is where her interest in cultures, both ancient and living, really took root, and she became a Great Basin archaeologist. However, the itch to write never did leave for long. Her first books became the middle grade fantasy trilogy, The Storyteller Series. Her first traditionally published work, Hush Puppy, is now available from Featherweight Press.
Lisa still lives in Idaho with her family and a menagerie of furry critters that includes way too many llamas!
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Giveaway
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
(Winners will receive their book on release day)

Button

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dying to Read (67)- TEAR YOU APART by Sarah Cross


Hey y’all thanks for stopping by to see my Dying to Read post and of course as always I have to give credit to the lovely Jill over at Breaking the Spine for the Waiting on Wednesday Meme!

I love fairy tale remakes and Once Upon a Time so this series sounds right up my alley! I haven't read book 1 KILLING ME SOFTLY yet but I just ordered it and am excited to start!

TEAR YOU APART
Sarah Cross
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA
ISBN: 978-1606845912
An edgy fairy tale retelling of "Snow White" set in the world of Kill Me Softly for fans of Once Upon a Time and Grimm.

Faced with a possible loophole to her "Snow White" curse, Viv goes underground, literally, to find the prince who's fated to rescue her. But is life safe in the Underworld worth the price of sacrficing the love that might kill her?

POP CULTURE CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF TWISTING FAIRY TALES: ABC's Once Upon a Time and NBC's Grimm continue to pull in high ratings. And with the anticipated Angelina Jolie Maleficent (2014), the film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods (2014), and Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella (2015), Hollywood is infected with fairy tale fever.

CAMEOS FROM FAVORITE CHARACTERS: Viv, who first appeared in Kill Me Softly trailed by her brooding boy-toy Henley, takes center stage in this new Beau Rivage tale. Other familiar characters including Blue and Jewel are back to help her defy her destiny.




So what do you think? Will you be adding this to your pile? What are you dying to read this week?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

COMPULSION Trailer Reveal by Martina Boone and a HUGE Giveaway!


Today is awesome! I get to help Martina Boone spread the word about her upcoming book COMPULSION! I have the beautiful book trailer to share! I've already read the book and loved it! Oh and make sure to visit all the other sites in this post for a special code to unlock more entries for the awesome prize!

Haven't heard of COMPULSION? Check it out!



Compulsion, Heirs of Watson Island Book 1
by Martina Boone
Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse 
October 28, 2014
Pub. Date: October 28, 2014
Pages: 304
Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lived with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.
“Darkly romantic and steeped in Southern Gothic charm, you’ll be compelled to get lost in the Heirs of Watson Island series.” — #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout 

"Compulsion is a stunningly magical debut with a delicious slow burn to be savored. I want to live in this story world!” — Wendy Higgins, USA Today and NYT bestselling author of the Sweet Evil Trilogy from HarperTeen 

"Beautifully written, with vivid characters, a generations-old feud, and romance that leaps off the page, this Southern ghost story left me lingering over every word, and yet wanting to race to the compelling finish. Martina Boone’s COMPULSION is not to be missed." — Megan Shepherd, Author of THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER 

"A star-crossed romance, lush gothic plantations, and an island full of intrigue--COMPULSION was a heart-pounding race to the finish! A thrilling debut!" — Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder series

"Martina Boone's COMPULSION is the perfect southern family saga, charming and steamy on the surface, with cold-blooded secrets buried down deep. What more do you want? More time to read it, that's what.” — Kendare Blake, author of ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD and ANTIGODESS 


Now on to the trailer!







Ok so you've seen the awesome trailer here's my secret code!!!  


JLAAASD

CLICK HERE to enter my code in the rafflecopter! And visit these sites for more codes!


Two Chicks on Books- HERE


The rules...

Go to Martina Boone's site for all of the contest rules and the entry forms!






About Martina:


Martina Boone writes contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she would love to visit. She is the founder of YASeriesInsiders.com and AdventuresinYAPublishing.com, a two-time Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers blog. If you like romance steeped in mystery, mayhem, Spanish moss, and a bit of magic, she hopes you'll look forward to meeting Barrie, Eight, Cassie, Pru, Seven and the other characters of Watson Island.








Dying to Read (66)- EARTH & SKY by Megan Crewe


Hey y’all thanks for stopping by to see my Dying to Read post and of course as always I have to give credit to the lovely Jill over at Breaking the Spine for the Waiting on Wednesday Meme!

I am a sci-fi nut so this one is definitely on my list!!

EARTH & SKY
Megan Crewe
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Paperback: 306 pages
Publisher: Skyscape
ISBN: 978-1477847848
Seventeen-year-old Skylar has been haunted for as long as she can remember by fleeting yet powerful sensations that something is horribly wrong. But despite the panic attacks tormenting her, nothing ever happens, and Sky’s beginning to think she’s crazy. Then she meets a mysterious, otherworldly boy named Win and discovers the shocking truth her premonitions have tapped into: our world no longer belongs to us. For thousands of years, Earth has been at the mercy of alien scientists who care nothing for its inhabitants and are using us as the unwitting subjects of their time-manipulating experiments. Win belongs to a rebel faction seeking to put a stop to it, and he needs Skylar’s help--but with each shift in the past, the very fabric of reality is unraveling, and soon there may be no Earth left to save.



So what do you think? Will you be adding this to your pile? What are you dying to read this week?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dying to Read (65)- THE DEAD OF WINTER by Kresley Cole


Hey y’all thanks for stopping by to see my Dying to Read post and of course as always I have to give credit to the lovely Jill over at Breaking the Spine for the Waiting on Wednesday Meme!

I love Kresley Cole's THE DEAD OF WINTER series and although it's going to suck reading the finale for this series I am seriously dying to get my hands on it!And even though I absolutely hate the new covers for the series (why oh why do a redesign mid series??) I shall overlook the ugly to get to the goodness inside I need more Death!!

THE DEAD OF WINTER
Kresley Cole
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 978-1481423458
Can Evie convince her rival loves to work together? Their survival depends on it in this third book of #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles, a nonstop action tale of rescue, redemption, and a revenge most wicked.

Heartbreaking decisions 
Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her—until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, The Lovers. She will do anything to save him, even escape Death’s uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comforts…and stolen glances from a former love.

Uncertain victory 
Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a frozen and perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on The Lovers and the vast army they command. Such formidable enemies require a battle plan, and the only way to kill them once and for all may mean Evie, Jack, and Death allying. Evie doesn’t know what will prove more impossible: surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen and other Arcana—or convincing Jack and Death to work together.

Two heroes returned 
There’s a thin line between love and hate, and Evie just doesn’t know where she stands with either Jack or Death. Will this unlikely trio be able to defeat The Lovers without killing one another first?



So what do you think? Will you be adding this to your pile? What are you dying to read this week?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Blog Tour- THE AFTERMATH by Jen Alexander and an awesome Giveaway!


You all know by now that I love Sci-Fi and Dystiopan books and when I read AFTERMATH I fell in love! What most of you don't know is I love video games especially RPG's and this book made the gamer in me really happy! So without further ado....

Welcome to day 1 of the Aftermath Blog Tour! I’m thrilled to welcome author Jen Alexander to the blog today to introduce to you The Aftermath, a game quite unlike any other. Over the course of the tour you’ll be granted access to game’s start up menu where you’ll learn what types of missions and challenges await you in The Aftermath, as well as the rules to which you’ll need to adhere. Be sure and follow along for the complete gaming experience, and tell us, how well do you think you’ll fare in The Aftermath?

Haven't heard of THE AFTERMATH? Check it out!



THE AFTERMATH 
Jen Alexander
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
ISBN: 978-0373211326

Fighting for survival, battling cannibal hordes and tasked with grueling missions that test her mental and physical endurance, Claudia Virtue learns that her world is not what it seems in THE AFTERMATH, book one of a new series by debut author Jen Alexander.
                              The year is 2036 and teen Claudia must eke out existence in a nightmarish landscape where food and water are in short supply and danger lurks in every shadow.  Though Claudia is the leader of a scrappy group of scavenging survivors, she can’t control her own dreams, which get more disturbing every night. Claudia soon realizes that there is more to her waking world than she can see – has her mind been taken over by an unseen foe? Are the lives she saves and the formerly-human monsters she destroys all a part of someone else’s twisted game? Perhaps the most frightening realization of all: the more Claudia fights for her life, the less human she feels inside. Can she solve the puzzle of her existence and find a safe, secure place in the world before losing her grip on her sanity and her humanity?

                                                                                                      With its fast-paced, high-stakes story, THE AFTERMATH will appeal to gamers, geeks and all fans of The Maze Runner and Ender’s Game. Plus, Claudia is a tough, smart, assertive heroine in the mode of Katniss from The Hunger Games and Tris from Divergent, the kind of character that male and female readers of all ages respond to with overwhelming enthusiasm.


Now on to the post!


Main Menu


The Story

Our world went to sleep in the spring of 2036, when the sky opened up, releasing asteroids. Releasing blizzards and hailstorms and then a heat wave that blistered the land. Releasing death. When Nashville and her inhabitants awoke hours—maybe even days—later, we were all as good as dead. Our only source of food came from the few factories untouched by the storms—mostly there were protein bars, but sometimes we were fortunate enough to find other food. We prayed for water, for rain.

We hoped for a miracle.

But the cannibals came.

Welcome to The Aftermath.


New Campaign

You wake up in a flesh-eater den with more Survivors. Fight your way through the cannibals to secure your freedom and establish your clan. Make your own destiny within The Aftermath: Become a legend, bound by honor, virtue and loyalty—or die forgotten.


Continue

Characters

·        FLESH-EATERS: Operated by LanCorp employees, flesh-eaters are your primary threat within The Aftermath.
·        SURVIVORS: Entrusted with the formidable task of rebuilding the new world, Survivors are The Aftermath’s only hope, and your clan is your only hope. You can earn your prescribed number of points three ways: Main Missions, Side-Quests, and Free Play.
o   Main Missions There are twelve main missions in The Aftermath. Each gamer is allotted the same number of points for completing these missions (see the Main Mission forum in the Community). Remember, all Main Missions must be played before treatment is considered complete.
o   Side-Quests An important component of The Aftermath, at least one side-quest should be completed each week. From the Mission Menu (Continue>Current Campaign>Missions) access the Side-Quests option to view a list of current objectives. Save a group of Survivors, take out a flesh-eater den, or liberate a factory and choose whether to share your findings with fellow Survivors or keep it all for yourself—the more honorable your mission, the more points you’ll earn.
*Note The Aftermath is an authentic, real-time gaming experience; therefore, side-quests are updated frequently.
o   Free Play Earn minimal points through Free Play—navigating the game without accepting missions. Raid flesh-eaters, initiate peaceful contact with other Survivors, or search the ruins of the city for valuable items.

SURVIVORS can also lose points. There are currently five ways to have points deducted:

o   Raiding Survivors
o   Being Captured
o   Refusing Side-Quest to Save a Member of Your Clan
o   Killing Survivors/ a Member of Your Clan If you kill a member of your team, or a fellow Survivor, you will lose 90 percent of your current points. As The Aftermath is a therapeutic solution, killing Survivors is a grave offense.
o   Getting Killed


Community

Settings

Exit


Thanks for stopping by Jen this is awesome can't wait to see the reat of the stops!!!!



About Jen:

The character of Claudia and the starting point for the THE AFTERMATH  came to Jen Alexander in a dream. She couldn’t shake the disturbing idea of a person trapped inside a live-action video game until finally her husband pressed her to write the story down. A former personal trainer, Jen’s background definitely influenced the physically powerful main character Claudia and the action-packed plot twists.


A native of North Carolina, Jen Alexander spent her childhood with her nose buried in either a book or a video game, and sometimes both at the same time. Jen now lives in North Carolina with her husband and children.





Contest Info:

Each tour stop is offering up a copy of THE AFTERMATH, and one winner will receive a fantastic Grand Prize Package including the following HarlequinTEEN titles: 2 copies of THE AFTERMATH as well as copies of GHOST HOUSE, RAIN, LET’S GET LOST, INVISIBLE and DROWNED. Please enter via the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open to US/Canada.





a Rafflecopter giveaway



Tour Schedule:



Friday, August 1, 2014

Get BRANDED! Check out BRANDED by Abi and Missy and enter the Giveaway!

Get-Branded-banner
Welcome to the GET BRANDED promo for Branded (Sinners #1) by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki presented by Month9Books! I freaking LOVED this book and am dying to get my hands on book 2, HUNTED! Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post.
Branded-Cover
Fifty years ago The Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society.

To punish the guilty, he created the Hole, a place where sinners are branded according to their sins. Sinners are forced to live a less than human existence in deplorable conditions, under the watchful eye of guards who are ready to kill anyone who steps out of line.

Now, LUST wraps around my neck like thick, blue fingers, threatening to choke the life out of me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit, and the Hole is my new home.

Constant darkness.

Brutal and savage violence.

Excruciating pain.

Every day is a fight for survival.

But I won’t let them win. I will not die in the Hole.

I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.
add to goodreads
Branded (Sinners #1) by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki
Publisher: Month9Books
Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Excerpt

CHAPTER 1
I’m buried six feet under, and no one hears my screams. The rope chafes as I loop it around my neck. I pull down, making sure the knot is secure. It seems sturdy enough. My legs shake. My heart beats heavy in my throat. Sweat pours down my back. Death and I glare at each other through my tears. I take one last look at the crystal chandelier, the foyer outlined with mirrors, and the flawless decorations. No photographs adorn the walls. No happy memories here. I’m ready to go. On the count of three. I inhale, preparing myself for the finality of it all. Dropping my hands, a glimmer catches my eye. It’s my ring, the last precious gift my father gave me. I twist it around to read the inscription. Picturing his face forces me to reconsider my choice. He’d be heartbroken if he could see me now. A door slams in the hallway, almost causing me to lose my balance. My thoughts already muddled, I stand waiting with the rope hanging around my neck. Voices I don’t recognize creep through the walls. Curiosity overshadows my current thoughts. It’s late at night, and this is a secure building in High Society. No one disturbs the peace here—ever. I tug on the noose and pull it back over my head. Peering through the eyehole in our doorway, I see a large group of armed guards banging on my neighbors’ door. A heated conversation ensues, and my neighbors point toward my family’s home. It hits me. I’ve been accused and they’re here to arrest me. My father would want me to run, and in that split second, I decide to listen to his voice within me. Flinging myself forward in fear, I scramble up the marble staircase and into my brother’s old bedroom. The door is partially covered, but it exists. Pushing his dresser aside, my fingers claw at the opening. Breathing hard, I lodge myself against it. Nothing. I step back and kick it with all my strength. The wood splinters open, and my foot gets caught. I wrench it backward, scraping my calf, but adrenaline pushes me forward. The voices at the front door shout my name. On hands and knees, I squeeze through the jagged opening. My brother left through this passage, and now it’s my escape too. Cobwebs entangle my face, hands, and hair. At the end, I feel for the knob, twisting it clockwise. It swings open, creaking from disuse. I sprint into the hallway and smash through the large fire escape doors at the end. A burst of cool air strikes me in the face as I jump down the ladder. Reaching the fifth floor, I knock on a friend’s window. The lights flicker on, and I see the curtains move, but no one answers. I bang on the window harder. “Let me in! Please!” I say, but the lights darken. They know I’ve been accused and refuse to help me. Fear and adrenaline rush through my veins as I keep running, knocking on more windows along the way. No one has mercy. They all know what happens to sinners. Another flight of stairs passes in a blur when I hear the guards’ heavy footfalls from above. I can’t hide, but I don’t want to go without trying. Help me, Daddy. I need your strength now. My previous desolation evolves into a will to survive. I have to keep running, but I tremble and gasp for air. I steel my nerves and force my body to keep moving. In a matter of minutes, my legs cramp and my chest burns. I plunge to the ground, scraping my knee and elbow. A moan escapes from my chest. Gotta keep going. “Stop!” Their voices bounce off the buildings. “Lexi Hamilton, surrender yourself,” they command. They’re gaining on me. I resist the urge to glance back, running into what I assume is an alley. I’m far from our high-rise in High Society as I plunge into a poorer section of the city where the streets all look the same and the darkness prevents me from recognizing anything. I’m lost. My first instinct is to leap into a dumpster, but I retain enough sense to stay still. I crouch and peek around it, watching them dash by. The abhorrent smell leaves me vomiting until nothing remains in my stomach. Desperation overtakes me, as I know my retching was anything but silent. My last few seconds tick away before they find me. Everyone knows about their special means of tracking sinners. I push myself to my feet and look left, right, and left again. Their batons click against their black leather belts, and their boots stomp the cement on both sides of me. I shrink into myself. Their heavy steps mock my fear, growing closer and closer until I know I’m trapped. Never did I imagine they’d come for me. Never did I imagine all those nights I heard them dragging someone else away that I’d join them. “You’re a sinner,” they say. “Time to leave.” I stand defiant. I refuse to bend or break before them, even as I shiver with fear. “There’s no reason to make this difficult. The more you cooperate, the smoother this will be for everyone,” a guard says. I cringe into the blackness along the wall. I’m innocent, but they won’t believe me or care. The next instant, my face slams into the pavement as one guard plants a knee in my back and another handcuffs me. A warm liquid trails into my mouth. Blood. Their fingers grip my arms like steel traps as they peel me off the cement. The tops of my shoes scrape along the ground as I’m dragged behind them until they discard me into the back of a black vehicle. The doors slam in unison with one guard stationed on each side of me, my shoulders digging into their arms. Swallowing hard, I stare ahead to avoid their eyes. My dignity is all I have left. The handcuffs dig into my wrists, so I clasp them together hard behind me and press my back into the seat, unwilling to admit how much it hurts. Did they need so many guards to capture me? I’m not carrying any weapons, nor do I own any. I don’t even know self-defense. High Society frowns on activities like that. The driver jerks the vehicle around and I try to keep my bearings, but it’s dark and the scenery changes too fast. Hours pass, and the air grows warmer, more humid the farther we drive. The landscape mutates from city to rolling hills. They don’t bother blindfolding me because they escort all the sinners to the same place—the Hole. Twenty-foot cement walls encase the chaos within. There’s no way out and no way in unless they transport you. They say the Hole is a prison with no rules. We learned about it last year in twelfth grade. To the outside, I’m filth now. I’ll never be allowed to return to the life I knew. No one ever does. “All sinners go through a transformation,” one of the guards says to me. His smirk infuriates me. “I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of stories.” I don’t respond. I don’t want to think about the things I’ve been told. “You won’t last too long, though. Young girls like you get eaten alive.” He pulls a strand of my hair up to his face. Get your hands off me, you pig. I want to lash out, but resist. The punishment for disobeying authority is severe, and I’m not positioned to defy him. They’re the Guards of the Commander. They’re chosen from a young age and trained in combat. They keep the order of society by using violent methods of intimidation. No one befriends a guard. Relationships with them are forbidden inside the Hole. Few have seen the Commander. His identity stays under lock and key. His own paranoia and desire to stay pure drove him to live this way. He controls our depraved society and believes sinners make the human race unforgivable. His power is a crushing fist, rendering all beneath him helpless. So much so, even family members turn on each other when an accusation surfaces. Just an accusation. No trial, no evidence, nothing but an accusation. I lose myself in thoughts of my father. “Never show fear, Lexi,” my father said to me before he was taken. “They’ll use it against you.” His compassionate eyes filled with warning as he commanded me to be strong. That was many years ago, but I remember it clearly. My father. My rock. The one person in my life who provided unconditional love. “Get out,” the guard says while pulling me to my feet. The vehicle stops, and I’m jerked back to reality. The doors slide open and the two guards lift me up and out into the night. A windowless cement building looms in front of us, looking barren in the darkness. The coolness of the air sends a shiver up my spine. This is really happening. I’ve been labeled a sinner. My lip starts to quiver, but I bite it before anyone sees. They shove me in line, and I realize I’m not alone. Women and men stand with faces frozen white with fear. Some are hardened criminals; others, like me, are innocent. A guard grabs my finger, pricks it, and dabs my blood on a tiny microchip. I follow the man in front of me into the next room where we’re lined up facing the wall. Glancing right, I see one of the men crying. “I didn’t mean to hit the guard. I swear it!” he pleads. I turn my head when I see a guard whip out his baton. The thumping sounds of his beating unnerve me. “Spread your legs,” one of the guards says icily. They remove my outer layers and their hands roam up and down my body. What do they think I can possibly be hiding? I press my head into the wall, trying to block out what they’re doing to me. “MOVE!” a guard commands. So I shuffle across the room, trying to cover up. One.
Two.
Three.
Four.
Five of us sit in the holding room. A woman clings to a man sitting next to her. She grips his arm and I can see the whitening of her knuckles. Her eyes meet mine and then she quickly turns away. He’s bent over his hands, defeated. “I’m not the criminal they say I am,” he whispers. His voice breaks. One by one, they pull people into the next room, forcing the rest of us to wonder what torture we’ll endure. I hear screaming from somewhere inside. An agonizing amount of time passes. I lean my head back and try to imagine a place far away. The door opens. “Lexi Hamilton.” A guard escorts me out of the room, and I don’t have time to look back. The first thing I see is a large photo of a regal-looking man on the wall. His frame is wide and he has cobalt blue eyes and a shock of black hair. He’s handsome, middle-aged, and wears the uniform of the Commander. My jaw drops open. It can’t be… Then the door slams closed. I feel their strong arms pick me up and place me on a table. It’s cold and my skin sticks to it slightly, like wet fingers on an ice cube. They exit in procession, and I lie on the table with a doctor standing over me. His hands are busy as he speaks. “Don’t move. This will only take a few minutes. It’s time for you to be branded.” A wet cloth that smells like rubbing alcohol is used to clean my skin. Then he places a metal collar around my neck. Click. Click. Click. The collar locks into place, and I struggle to breathe. The doctor loosens it some as I focus on the painted black words above me.
The Seven Deadly Sins:
Lust — Blue Gluttony — Orange Greed — Yellow Sloth — Black Wrath — Red Envy — Green Pride — Purple
“Memorize it. Might keep you alive longer if you know who to stay away from.” He opens my mouth, placing a bit inside. “Bite this.” Within seconds, the collar heats from hot to scorching. The smell of flesh sizzling makes my head spin. I bite down so hard a tooth cracks. “GRRRRRRRRR,” escapes from deep within my chest. Just when I’m about to pass out, the temperature drops, and the doctor loosens the collar. He removes it and sits me up. Excruciating pain rips through me, and I’m on the verge of a mental and physical breakdown. Focus. Don’t pass out. Stainless steel counters and boring white walls press in on me. And that large, gilded photo stares at me like it’s watching. A guard laughs at me from an observation room above and yells, “Blue. It’s a great color for a pretty young thing like yourself.” His eyes dance with suggestion. The others meander around like it’s business as usual. I finally find my voice and turn to the doctor. “Are you going to give me clothes?” A burning pain spreads like fire up from my neck to my jaw, making me wince. He shrugs and points to a set of folded grey scrubs on a chair. I cover myself as much as I can and scurry sideways. Grabbing my clothes and pulling the shirt over my head, I try to avoid the raw meat around my throat. I quickly knot the cord of my pants around my waist and slide my feet into the hospital-issue slippers as the doctor observes. He hands me a bag labeled with my name. “Nothing is allowed through the door but what we’ve given you,” he says. I hide my right hand behind me, hoping no one notices. A guard scans my body and opens his fist. “Give it to me.” His eyes turn to slits. “Don’t make me rip off your finger.” He crouches down and I turn to stone. I don’t know what to do, so I beg. “My father gave this to me. Please, let me keep it.” I smash my eyes shut and think of the moment my father handed the golden ring to me. “It was my mother’s ring,” he’d said. “She’s the strongest woman I ever knew.” With tears in his eyes, he reached for my hand and said, “Lexi, you’re exactly like her. She’d want you to wear this. No matter how this world changes, you can survive.” I turned the gold band over in my palm and read the engraving.
You can overcome anything… short of death.
“You’re going to take the one thing that matters the most to me?” I say, glaring into the guard’s emotionless eyes. “Isn’t it enough taking my life, dignity, and respect?” A hard blow falls upon my back. As I fall, my hands shoot out to stop me from smashing into the wall in front of me. The guard bends down and grabs my chin with his meaty fist. “Look at me,” he commands. I look up and he smiles with arrogance. “What the hell?” He staggers a step backward. “What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with your eyes?” “Nothing,” I respond, confused. “What color are they?” “Turquoise.” I glower at him. “Interesting,” he says, regaining his composure. “Now those’ll get you in trouble.” Reality slaps me across the face. I have my father’s eyes. They can't take them from me. I twist the ring off my finger and drop it in his hand. “Take the damn ring,” I say. I walk to the door. He swipes a card and the massive door slides open to the outside. “You have to wear your hair back at all times, so everyone knows what you are.” He hands me a tie, so I pull my frizzy hair away from my face and secure it into a ponytail. My neck burns and itches as my hand traces the scabs that have already begun to form. Squinting ahead in the darkness, I almost run into a guard standing on the sidewalk. “Watch where you’re going,” he says, shoving me backward. His stiff figure stands tall and I cringe at the sharpness of his voice. “Cole, this is your new assignment, Lexi Hamilton. See to it she feels welcome in her new home.” The guard departs with a salute. “Let’s move,” Cole says. I take two steps and collapse, my knees giving out. The unforgiving pavement reopens the scrapes from earlier and I struggle to stand. A powerful arm snatches me up, and I see his face for the first time.

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

Courtesy of authors' website
Photo Courtesy of authors' website
 Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.
Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Giveaway
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...