You guys! I am so so so honored to reveal the cover of one of the most anticipated sequel that will come out this year. BROKEN SKIES received a 5 star review from me this January because, honestly, it is so deserving!! Y’all should check it out on Goodreads and purchase it on Amazon. FRACTURED SUNS will come out this September so yes, this is the time to read the first book!!!
Anyway, not only will I reveal the gorgeous cover, I will also let you take a sneak peek 🙂 Don’t forget to enter the giveaway that Theresa generously provided.
Expected publication: September 18th 2015
YA > SciFi | Dystopia
About the book..
We came in peace. Lie.
We had no role in the Collapse. Lie.
I have always been honest. Lie.
I never lied to her. Truth.
Reunited with her brother, and surrounded by Flint, Peter and her new-found grandfather, Jax Mitchell has still never felt more alone. The choice to follow Rym back to the city to find answers and see Lir is an easy one, but their reunion is cut short and Jax is forced to leave Lir behind. She finds herself traveling with some unexpected companions and heading back toward a place she’d hoped to never see again.
After being imprisoned—and tortured—on the orders of his uncle, Lir hasn’t seen daylight or linked to anyone in weeks. After a lifetime of
connection, the pain and loneliness is almost too much to bear. Elated that Jax actually came, Lir finds renewed hope and strength to continue fighting his uncle’s influence over the E’rikon, even when things look hopeless and Lir’s been branded a traitor by the very people he’s trying to save.
While Jax and Lir fight separate battles, their missions have more in common than they realize. It’s a race against time to stop men driven only by greed and power. But the people they trust the most might be the very people working against them—and “family” doesn’t mean what it used to.
Will they recognize their friends from their enemies in time to save the people they love or will they lose each other in the process .
Tiercel skims the air just above the ground, a yellow-tipped arrow covered in brown and white feathers. He flies so low that the tips of the meadow grass brush against the underside of his wings. A subtle change in angle slows his flight and he drops onto the squirrel, pinning it to the ground with his talons. After a brief squeal, the squirrel is silent. The hawk mantles over the creature, fanning his wings out and hiding it from sight.
I walk up to him from the side, making gentle noises, and pull a small chunk of meat from the pouch at my waist. He grips the squirrel with his talons and cocks his head to the side, studying me. I give two sharp whistles and he jumps onto my outstretched forearm then picks the meat from between the fingers of my heavy leather glove. Once he’s finished the reward I raise my arm and give another whistle. He lofts up into the trees and watches from a branch as I pick the squirrel up by its tail and tie it to the belt at my waist.
I sigh and drop my shoulders. One squirrel isn’t going to feed five people, especially as skinny as the thing is, but I’ve been out here half the morning and it’s all I’ve managed to get. This doesn’t bode well for our food situation.
Peter did fine out here when it was just him and he had plenty of food stored to last him through the winter. Then I showed up with my injured brother, alien grandfather and Flint, my brother’s boyfriend. Plus, I added another mouth to feed when I found Tiercel injured in the woods and brought him back to the cabin with me. At least the hawk can feed himself if it comes down to that.
It’s barely November, and we’ve already managed to go through a good bit of Peter’s canned and dried food as well as his stack of fire wood. The cold arrived early and it looks like it’s going to be a very long, very cold winter. There’s no question we’ll run out of food and there aren’t many options for trading here.
And Peter is too damn nice to ask us to leave. Not that we’d make it very far.
Jace’s broken leg is healing thanks, again, to Peter who has some basic medical training from when he used to travel to remote locations to preach. Even with Peter’s care, my brother is still not in any shape to make the trek to Bridgelake, the largest human settlement left, with the weather the way it is. The settlement is a couple hundred miles away through woods and over mountains. Not a journey someone still recovering from a fractured tibia can make through snow and bitter cold.
Then there’s Jastren, my grandfather, and one of the E’rikon, the alien race that arrived on Earth about ten years ago and took over one of our decimated cities. He’s only a problem so much as he’s got bright red hair, much brighter than mine or Jace’s, and yellow eyes with a starburst of red in the center. Neither feature can be easily hidden and the odds are any humans we come across would kill first without bothering to ask questions.
There’s always been tension between the two species, but it’s only gotten worse. Vitrad Linaud, who’s a petty, vengeful, sadist on his good days, is now in control of the E’rikon city. He’d manufactured an attack that he somehow managed to attribute to humans and the aliens were more than happy to accept him as their new leader. Especially since the old one was dead and…and… there was no one else to step up. Here at Peter’s cabin, we aren’t too far from the E’rikon city and there have been more and more of the aliens’ silver ships passing by overhead off to who knows where. Maybe they’re prepping for the looming interspecies war or something.
Only half E’rikon and with none of their more distinguishable physical features, Jace and I pass for human easily. In fact, we’d been doing it all our lives. I’d spent over two weeks with…one of the E’rikon… and he had no idea what I was. Hell, I didn’t know either until about a month ago when I sat right at Peter’s kitchen table while Flint explained what he knew and a hopeful smile spread across Lir’s face.
I squeeze my eyes shut. That simple memory, just the thought of his name, tugs at the broken thread of our bond and brings the burn of tears. I trusted him. I loved him. He used me. He betrayed me.
And he left this gaping hole when he broke the bond with nothing but a simple two word apology: I’m sorry. No explanation. No attempt at justification for his actions…No goodbye.
To top it off, whatever Lir did when he broke the bond has left me unable to link to anyone but my brother. Jastren has spent the past few weeks teaching Jace how to use the mental abilities that come with our alien heritage. Me, he’s simply been staring at in frustration because, no matter what I do, I cannot follow the thread of the mental connection and link to him. I still occasionally pick up some emotions from him— mostly disappointment— but that’s it. At least I’ve still got my connection to Jace and that’s all I really need anyway, right?
A screech from Tiercel pulls me from my thoughts and I wipe at my eyes with one hand. Despite the ache in my heart, in my head I know it shouldn’t still affect me like this. After all the secrets, all the lies and that final betrayal, I should be over him, but I’m obviously not. I hate my stupid heart for that.
I whistle and Tiercel swoops down from the tree and perches on my upraised arm.
“Hey buddy, you think we’ll catch anything else today?”
He tilts his head to the side and stares at me.
“I’ll take that as a no.” I lift my arm and he takes off again. “We’ll just head back then.”
Tiercel flies from tree to tree as I make my way through the woods. For a wild hawk, he was surprisingly easy to train, at least for me. He typically won’t let anyone else touch him, including Jace, who actually has experience with birds since our dad used to keep a couple. It’s a bit strange.
Most birds would take months to train and still wouldn’t be as tame as Tiercel is with me. When I found him, he hopped onto my arm without question and it took very little effort for me to teach him to hunt small animals. I never have to put a hood on him and he’ll come to me even if I don’t have a snack to offer. He’s free to come and go, but he always responds to my whistle. I wouldn’t even have a mews for him if the weather wasn’t so bad. I don’t want him to get stuck in a storm, so I converted one of Peter’s small sheds into a nice cozy spot for him to roost.
Lost in thought, my foot catches on a tree root and I half stumble out of the forest and into the clearing surrounding the cabin. I point toward the shed and Tiercel streaks over and into it. Not even a whistle and he knows exactly what I want him to do. Oh well, strange as it may be, it’s awfully handy.
I tromp up the wooden steps and swing open the back door, calling out as I go that I’ve got dinner. When I open the door and walk in, everyone except Jastren is sitting around the kitchen table. At my appearance they go silent and three sets of eyes focus on me.
I narrow my eyes. “What?”
Jace is the first to recover. “Hey sis, we were discussing food and stuff. You know, how we’re going to get through the winter and all.” The chill of his nervousness flows to me and I narrow my eyes.
“Why wasn’t I included in this conversation?”
Flint sighs. “There’s only one option Jax and every time—”
“We are not trading with Lenny and his gang.”
“And that’s why you weren’t included in the conversation,” my brother mutters under his breath.
I whirl on Jace. “So you agree with him now? You think we should go make nice with the guys who were going to sell me to the Breeder camp? If it wasn’t for—” I press my lips together and shake my head. I shouldn’t be thinking about him. “I know. Why don’t I just head over to the Breeder camp now? Save us some time. Because that’s where I’ll end up if Lenny or Stu or any of those guys get any clue that I’m here. And that’s if he doesn’t kill you on sight. You might be a guy, but you’re still my twin and I can’t imagine that Stu won’t notice some resemblance to the girl that…”— I swallow noisily— “…killed his brother. Is that what you want Jace?”
“Peter will go with me. They know him,” he says. “It will be okay.”
I cross my arms over my chest. “If they’re so friendly with Peter, why can’t he go by himself?” I wince at the selfishness in my words. How awful am I? I don’t want to send the old man into danger, but I can’t lose Jace, not again. Every instinct in me screams that sending Jace to go trade with Lenny will only be delivering him to his death. Lenny would find it the perfect payback for what I did.
Flint huffs and grits his teeth. “We’ve already been over this. Jace needs to go because if there’s trouble, he can manipulate their emotions—”
“We don’t know if it works like that on humans,” I say. “It’s completely untested.”
“Don’t you pay attention to anything? I’m a human,” says Flint. “And it works on me.”
“But nothing,” says Jace. “I’ve been cooped up in this cabin practicing for weeks. I know what I’m doing and I can handle this. It’s the only choice we’ve got. Obviously, you and Jastren can’t go and Flint has to stay behind to protect you—”
This again? “I don’t need his protection!” I yell.
Flint slams his fist on the table and stands up. “Dammit Jax! Do you think I want to stay behind? You want to protect Jace and he wants to protect you.” He throws his arms up. “And I’m always the one caught in the middle. I’m sick of it!” He storms down the hallway and a door slams.
Jace closes his eyes and lets out a long breath before slowly rising and limping down the hall after Flint, the makeshift stabilizing boot on his lower leg thumping with each step. Thankfully, he inherited some of the E’rikon’s accelerated healing otherwise he’d still be on crutches. The door opens and closes, softer this time, and I can hear the quiet hum of their voices.
I hate fighting with my brother, Flint too, but it seems like the three of us are constantly at each other’s throats. Flint’s right. We put him in the middle and he doesn’t deserve that. But what am I supposed to do? I pinch the bridge of my nose between two fingers and collapse into the chair next to Peter that had been vacated by Flint.
“What do you think about all this?” The second the question leaves my mouth, I flinch. I should know better by now than to ask Peter such an open-ended question.
“This whole thing is beyond me. I know you had a bad experience with Lenny and I don’t believe he’s a good guy, but I don’t know that he’s entirely bad. And Stu? He’s barely older than you. They’re all simply trying to stay alive. That’s all everyone’s doing these days. But it’s not enough for one to simply survive. There needs to be hope… and love.” He shakes his head. “No one quite understands how very important love is nowadays. Love for both yourself and others. Without love…we’d all be savages. Now, that’s not to say romantic love can’t be just as important. Those two boys, even with so much working against them, managed to find each other, and this whole survival business is tearing them both apart but—”
“So you’re saying all their problems are my fault?”
“No no no, not at all, my dear. It’s that everyone’s under so much stress and my cabin’s not that large. Though, back when I first built it, there was plenty of space for little old me. Did I ever tell you about how I built it?” He coughs. “But that’s not my point here. You and Jace arguing doesn’t help anything. And Flint, he’s like another brother to you, yes? Both of you— all three of you— are so wrapped up in protecting the others that not one of you has bothered to believe in each other, to trust in the love you have for each other. Isn’t that partly how this situation began? Jace trying to protect you, trying to do what he thought was best? That’s exactly what you’re trying to do for him now. Things are uncertain in this world, no one knows that better than you, but if you don’t have at least some faith, then you have nothing. Trust that Jace will protect himself and come back to you unharmed. You can’t possibly believe it’s his desire to die or be taken. And he should have a little faith in your ability to protect yourself and let that poor suffering boy go with us like he so obviously wants to. After all, you are capable of taking care of yourself, yes?”
I nod slowly.
“Then you should trust that Jace can do the same and I see no problem with the two young men and I going on a short trading trip, one that we will return from unharmed and with enough supplies to carry us through the winter.”
A sigh brushes past my lips. As roundabout as his point is, he does have one and it’s a good one. “When will you guys leave?”
“Tomorrow morning, early,” says Peter with a soft smile. “I will do my best to look out for both of them.”
And if I don’t want to alienate Jace and Flint any further, that will just have to do.
* * * * * * *
The next morning, the truck idles in the driveway while Peter loads up handmade blankets, medical supplies and some other odds and ends to trade. I simply lean against the cabin with my arms crossed. I’m not arguing, but I don’t have to pretend I like this idea. If Flint and Jace are surprised at my newfound ‘support’ for their plan, they don’t say anything.
Surprisingly, it’s Jastren who has a problem with the plan. “This is not the best use of our resources,” he says. “They will be outnumbered and if Jace is unable to manipulate them, extra brawn will not move the odds into their favor.”
“What would you suggest grandfather?” Jace asks. I don’t manage to conceal my snort and he glares at me. What does he expect? My brother, always the clown, has never been one to give deference to anyone, but he treats Jastren like some sort of all knowing king in whose presence we should be bowing. Sometimes I think that I should be doing the same, but… then I come to my senses. I don’t know why, but something about it doesn’t feel right.
At first, I thought Jace’s compliance came from some weird sense of gratitude for…being related to us?…and that it would go away, that Jace would laugh and joke with Jastren like he used to do with dad. Nope. The more time the two have spent together training, the more Jace’s regard for the alien has increased and he takes almost everything Jastren says as gospel— except when it has to do with Flint.
Early on, Jastren made it clear, not so much in words as in a subtle ooze of disapproval, that he didn’t think Jace’s relationship was appropriate. I suppose he doesn’t want to tarnish Jace’s near hero worship of him, though, so Jastren stays silent on the matter. However, I can tell from the look in his eye and the occasional flash of emotion I do get from him, that Jastren is not a fan of Flint.
“I believe I should accompany you. You can drop me off within linking distance and if you run into problems, you can simply link to me and I will come to assist,” says Jastren.
Flint shakes his head. “And what good would that do? You’d still be outnumbered.”
“We are quicker, our reflexes more evolved than humans. I could subdue any hostiles more swiftly and efficiently than you.”
I roll my eyes. That’s another thing. I get lumped in with the humans, but Jastren treats my brother like he’s full-blooded E-rikon. Not that I’m complaining or anything. I identify more with my human half than my alien one. The alien part of me has caused me nothing but pain. Letting others into my head. Driving me into darkness. Creating a killer. And drawing me to Lir.
Jace turns to Flint. “What do you think?”
Flint’s eyes dart from Jastren to me and then back to Jace. “It sounds logical, but…” He reaches out and grabs Jace’s arm. “I still don’t like it.”
“You don’t have to. It just has to get done,” says Jace, shaking Flint’s hand off. He faces Jastren. “We will go with your plan then, grandfather.”
An icy sense of resolve travels from Jastren and frosts along my nerves. I look at him and narrow my eyes. What was that about?
Flint clenches his jaw and stares down at his feet as Jace and Jastren climb into the truck. He doesn’t even say bye, but neither does Jace. I hate seeing them like this.
When the truck disappears down the driveway, I straighten and take the three steps to Flint and place my hand on his shoulder.
“I don’t like this,” says Flint. “He doesn’t act like himself when Jastren’s around.”
I squeeze his bicep. “I know. I think it’s new to him still. The mental connection can be…overwhelming.”
“But even when you were with Lir—” He tilts his head and cracks his knuckles. “Sorry. It’s just…you never acted like that. You were always you, even when he was around. But Jace…It’s like he’s some other person, like he’s not the guy I fell in love with anymore. I miss him.”
My heart floods with empathy. I wish I knew how to fix this, but the only thing I can think of to say is,“He’s been through a lot.”
Flint raises his head, meeting my eyes. “So have you.”
I shrug. “I don’t know what you want me to say. Do I think he’s acting strangely? Yes. But I also think it will work itself out.” My mouth tilts up and I nudge him with my shoulder. “I mean, look how far I’ve come. It just took time.”
A grateful smile appears on his lips and he throws an arm over my shoulders, tugging me into his side. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome.” I sigh. “And I’m sorry for putting you in the middle of all our battles.”
He chuckles and pulls me closer. “All a part of sibling rivalry, right?” Moving his arm away he clasps his hands together over his chest and dramatically flutters his eyes. “Fighting over poor little me? At least I know you care.”
I smack his arm. “Hey, it’s not my fault my family’s dysfunctional.”
“Dysfunctional?” He lifts his eyebrows. “Nah, you two are the most functional family I know. You might fight, but you love each other.”
“Don’t you mean us three? You aren’t getting out of this. Now you’re my brother too.”
His eyes soften and a grin takes over his face. “I always wanted a pesky little sister.”
“Who you calling little?” I give him a shove and take off into the trees, calling out over my shoulder. “Well, come on then. You think you can take me? I bet you can’t even catch me.”
“You’re on!” he yells from behind me.
I duck under branches and dart around trees, leaving Flint well behind me in my mad dash. He doesn’t have much of a chance at catching me unless I let him. I might not have all the benefits of my heritage, but I am a bit faster than a normal human.
Pausing, I hide behind a large rock and wait for the rustling noises to get closer before popping out from behind it “Boo!”
The thrill of the chase, my elation, and my laugh wash away as stark cold fear twisted with icy tendrils of guilt slams into me. The playful smile drops from my face. It’s not Flint who has found me. Not blond hair, but a true deep gold. Not blue eyes, but inhuman golden ones to match the hair.
Vitrad’s son. Lir’s cousin and good friend.
The one I left for dead after a brutal mental gutting.
I am pretty much freaking out right now!!! Like, WHAT. WHAAAAAT. I honestly cannot wait to read wht happened. Seriously, if you still haven’t read the first book, NOW IS THE TIME.
The only person she knows who had a subscription to Writer’s Digest at eleven and was always excited to write research papers, Theresa has been putting words to paper since a young age. Living in the mountains of central Virginia with her husband and two kids, she works as a paralegal by day, binges on Netflix at night and finds bits of time in between reading almost everything she can get her hands on and laundry to craft stories that tend to feature broken characters in sci-fi or paranormal worlds, with a touch of romance thrown in for good measure.
She’s constantly lost in one fictional universe or another and is a self-proclaimed “fangirl” who loves being sucked in to new books or TV shows. Theresa originally wanted to write horror novels as an ode to her childhood passion for Stephen King novels, but between her internal Muse’s ramblings and the constant praise for her sci-fi pieces from her writer’s group – The Rebel Writers – she knew she should stick with what was working.
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