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THE WINNERS OF STAKING SHADOWS EBOOK ARE:

KRISTEN LYNN THETFORD and ANGELA ACKERMAN

Congrats ladies…will email them over shortly!

 

Yay, Staking Shadows is now available in ebook form through Noble Young Adult

It should also be available soon on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and All Romance eBooks. Will update with links when it becomes available.

To celebrate the release of Staking Shadows, I’m giving away a free ebook to 2 commenters.  All you have to do is leave a comment and you’re entered.  Make sure to leave an email address in case you win.

I’ll draw the winners on July 5, 2011.

Blurb:

Summer “Sun” McKellar was twelve when her world was shattered by the appearance of the “soul-suckers,” a god-like hybrid with a vapid hunger for human souls. Within mere days entire towns were wiped out. But Summer was one of the lucky ones, or at least she managed to escape with her life—what was left of it.

Now, five years later, Summer is one of only a handful of survivors left on Earth. A place where night dominates and humans are harvested for their souls. By daylight Summer is the leader of a small band of survivors, while at dusk she becomes a hunter, with only one goal in mind; to take back her world one dead soul-sucker at a time. This routine serves her well until an enemy patrolman named Raven saves her life. He causes complications she never dreamt possible, making her rethink her strategy. For their chance encounter and the danger that surrounds it will ultimately force them to choose between loyalty to their own kinds or the forbidden…

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Yes, I’m having a total Star Wars geek moment (LOL).  Today is one of those days where I wish I had Jedi mind powers. Like perhaps make my phone incapable of ringing. Or answer the phone and in my best Obi Wan Kenobi voice say, “I am not the enforcement caseworker you’re looking for.  You can go about your business.”

Or maybe, I could use it to make myself stop checking my email 40,000,000 times to see if I’ve heard back on my partial/full manuscripts out with agents (eek).

On a more realistic note (not that Jedi mind powers aren’t realistic, mind you) soccer season started this week for my kids (during spring break). Spent lots of hours at practice with my kids freezing. Might need to invest in a wookie to keep me warm (hehehe). But it’s fun to watch the teams work hard. Their first games are next weekend, and both of them are away.

And OMG VD is back (the Vampire Diaries TV show, not the disease–hehehe). It was SO SO SO good last night. Every time I thought I had things figured out, they totally threw another twist at me. So crazy. All I can say is that I want Elena and Damon to have their moment. And holy crap on the Alaric/Isabelle twist. Totally didn’t see it coming. I’m so excited for next week to get here so I can watch it! EEEK.

I’m part way through reading Torment by Lauren Kate and am really liking it so far. I think I like it better than Fallen, the 1st book in the series. After this book, I’ll either start Hex Hall or XVI, haven’t decided yet. Decisions, decisions.

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! And here’s hoping I start hearing back on my requested materials (fingers crossed).

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Photo Credit manicmorff at morguefile.com

“Hey, watch it nerd.” Greg Weathers rammed his shoulder into my arm, knocking the books from my hands.

“God, he’s such a jerk.” My narrowed eyes followed him down the hallway.

“Here, let me help you.” Stephen shoved his glasses up his nose and bent to get my textbooks.

“Some days, I just wish everyone would disappear,” I said with a frown.

Stephen tweaked a strand of my blonde hair. “Everyone?”

Behind the oversized glasses, a pair of cobalt blue eyes stared back. His shaggy dark hair needed to be cut, but his perfect smile made my heartbeat slug my chest like a boxer pummeling a punching bag.

“Everyone, but you.”

His hand brushed mine as he gave me back my things, a flare of heat shot up my arm. “Do you mean that, Serena?” he whispered.

My gaze flicked to Greg Weathers, who stood propped against his locker with Lindsay Decker pressed against him. Hard to believe he and I dated over the summer. Now he made my life a living hell, all because I wouldn’t do it in his parents’ boat. I was supposed to be popular. But Greg wrecked me. And every day, I had to come to this crap hole called school, only to endure the stupid rumors he spread.

“Serena?” Stephen said, nudging my shoulder with his.

“Yeah, I mean it. I wish you and I were the only people left on earth.”

*****

With a yawn, I rolled out of bed. The sun streamed through my window like a large Broadway spotlight. It warmed my skin, and I smiled. Quick shower. Breakfast. Then off to hell, or school as Mom and Dad like to call it.

Silence stretched throughout the house, and I glanced at my clock. Almost 10:00 pm. Crap. I whipped the door of my room open. The battery must’ve died. But why hadn’t my parents or little brother got me up?

“Mom. Dad?” I hollered, making my way through the house. When I got to the kitchen, they weren’t there. In fact, last night’s dishes were still in the sink. The coffee pot was off, which made no sense since my parents practically needed IVs of caffeine to get around in the mornings.

This had to be some kind of joke. I hurried to my parents’ bedroom. On top of their bed, rumpled, were their clothes. Laid out like they’d disappeared right out of them.

I backed out of the room then ventured into my brother Caleb’s. He wasn’t there. Only a pair of pajamas lay in his spot, still covered beneath the blankets. Panic clutched tight to my throat, constricting it until I couldn’t breathe.

This wasn’t happening. No. Flipping. Way. I’m dreaming, I repeated several times. My legs trembled beneath me as I made my way to the front of the house. I jerked the outside door open and stepped onto the porch.

Dew clung to the grass like tears as I looked around in horror. There were no cars driving in the street. No kids at bus stops. There weren’t even any birds or animals about.

I stepped from the porch, cool cement kissed the bottoms of my feet. Piles of clothes littered two driveways of my neighbors.

“Hello?” I yelled. No one answered.

God, what happened? Maybe Armageddon? Then why am I still alive?

I turned to go back inside, when I heard someone call my name.

“Serena!”

“Stephen.”

He covered the distance between us in several strides, and clutched me to his chest. Gone were his glasses, his feigned nerdiness. In his place stood a tall, confident guy.

“What’s going on?” My voice squeaked.

“You made the wish, Serena. And I granted it.” He pulled back, his eyes held me in place.

“A wi—wish?”

“You said you wished that we were the only people left on earth. So I granted it for you. My love.”

Thanks for dropping by: Make sure to check out some of my fellow YAFF members’ stories too!

Miranda Buchanan

Traci Kenworth

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YAFF Muse is back!!! Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Raygun by wintersixfour

I adjusted my Princess Leia, Battle of Endor costume, and applied a layer of Cherry Kiss lip gloss, before sliding from my rusted pick-up. The summer heat practically fried my skin as I hurried toward Dr. Z’s Sci-Fi Museum.

Yeah, I was the victim of “get a summer job because I’m broke epidemic” otherwise known as, my parents think I need to learn responsibility and they’re not going to keep paying for my gas and insurance problem.

So every morning, I got up before dawn, showered and donned some sci-fi heroine costume, while my friends lay tucked away in bed. They went swimming; I gave talks about the swamp monster. They took bike trips and partied, while I played tour guide.

Totally unfair. Although, there was one perk and he stood six-foot two, with shaggy blonde hair and blue eyes to die for. Muscles, abs, bronze skin. In one word, yummy, that’s what Caleb Zenson was.

I took the museum keys from my purse and unlocked the main entrance. Cool air wrapped around me like a cape. Flipping on the lights, I hurried past the space ship display, complete with working doors and smoke.

Once in the office, I slid my things into a locker then gathered pamphlets to refill the display case. As I turned around, I ran into a solid form. I squealed, dropping the brochures.

“Kayla, hey, I’m sorry,” Caleb said, leaning down to help me pick up the mess. I bent at the same time, whacking my head on his chest. My earring snagged his shirt. I attempted to stand, but realized I was stuck.

My face burned. “Um, I’m caught on your shirt,” I said.

Caleb chuckled. “Here, hold still and let me help you.” His hands brushed my hair from my face and I inhaled the scent of his spicy cologne. My legs wobbled beneath me as I tried to stay balanced. His touch made me imagine lots of rated “R” things.

“Ah, it’s Han and Leia,” Dr. Z said from behind us. “I see you’re both getting into the roles.” He laughed, his cane tapping against the marble tiles.

“We’re kind of attached,” I said.

“I see that. It’s about time Caleb got the courage to ask you out! Cheerio, I say.”

Wait, what?

Caleb went still, and cleared his throat. I wished I could crane my head to see if he was mortified. Or if he was happy. But no, my head was stuck to his Han Solo shirt. Although, there were worse places to be. Like anywhere. Damn, I was the luckiest girl in the universe.

I imagined the school papers I’d write about how I spent my summer vacation. Wrapped in the arms, er…shirt of the king of hotness himself. Inhaling his masculine scent, his heart beating against my face, his…

“There you go, we’re officially unstuck.” Caleb glanced down at me.

“Thanks. Sorry about that.” I backed away then hurried to pick up the brochures.

 “I didn’t mind,” he said. My gaze flashed to his face. Oh my God. His perfect smile was beaming like a spotlight on Broadway. “Actually, I’ve wanted to ask you out all summer.”

And one, two, breathe. Come on girl. Talk. To. Him.

“Seriously?”

He fidgeted with his plastic laser blaster, strapped at his side. “Yeah.”

I opened my mouth to say more, when Dr. Z burst into the room. “Hurry along; we’ve got a big crowd today. And you both have tours.” He wore a space commander suit, complete with fake jet pack. “Make sure you keep an eye on things. I’ve got a strange feeling.”

Caleb and I exchanged looks, because Dr. Z always had a strange feeling. He believed it was only a matter of time before aliens attacked us. So not only did he horde Sci-Fi memorabilia and gadgets, but he insisted everything was real. The guy was a fruit loop, but hey, he paid me well. And his grandson more than made up for the weird comments.

“Don’t worry Grandpa, Kayla and I will handle things.” He ushered the aged man toward the theatre room, while I finished setting up.

By noon, the museum was packed. I shuffled backward, microphone in hand toward the large glass display case of weapons.

“And if you’ll turn your eyes to our display, you’ll see the raygun that was used in the movie Aliens Amongst Us 3,” I said.

A boy raised his hand in the back. “Do these things actually work?”

I smiled, catching Caleb’s eye with another group ahead of us. He winked and nodded his head yes. Chewing my bottom lip, I turned back to the boy.

“It sure does.”

For several more hours, I led different groups through the museum. I showed them costumes from Sci-Fi sets, weapons, fake space ships, information about alien landings and abductions. I answered questions about how things worked, if I was available after my shift (which I said no, pervy old man anyway), and how Dr. Z obtained the items.

Taking a swig of my ice water, I adjusted my Leia costume and got ready to take my last tour through the museum.

“Hello, and welcome to Dr. Z’s Sci-Fi Museum. I’m Kayla. I’ll be your pilot and guide today. If you have any questions, please feel free to stop me and I’ll do my best to answer it.”

A guy who looked close to my age, grinned. I dreaded what might come out of his mouth as we headed toward the space dome, complete with dark night sky and blinking stars. The familiar scent of “space ship” fuel burning and smoke filtered in the air.

“Kayla.” Dr. Z rushed me, his eyes wide with terror. “They’re here. Get these people on a ship, and grab a weapon.” He raised his cane, and struck the case with weapons in it. Glass sprayed everywhere, and the tourists screamed.

“Dr. Z,” I said, placing a hand on his shoulder. Caleb came running toward us.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“They’re here old boy. Get your group on the ship and grab a gun,” Dr. Z said again.

I opened my mouth to protest, when I heard the loud rumble of something outside. Taking a deep breath, I accepted the raygun Dr. Z handed me and hurried to the entrance. A huge shadow, splayed over the ground, like someone parked a giant semi in front of the sun.

“Oh. My. God.” Dr. Z wasn’t crazy. Overhead, a large spaceship hovered. In the distance, plumes of smoke painted the horizon. We were being invaded.

Caleb grabbed my shoulders, jerking me back as a beam of light pulsed to the ground. Tall, gray colored beings walked straight at us. They raised small gun-like weapons.

“C’mon, get on the ship.” Caleb dragged me behind him toward our ship display, right as a red laser beam burst through the doors.

I glanced at the raygun in my hand, and tapped a switch on the side. Then, feeling all Leia like, I aimed the gun at the aliens and pulled the trigger. The weapon pulsed in my hand, and I watched in surprise as lasers flew from the end of it. One of the aliens fell to the ground. Holy crap!

If I wasn’t scared out of my mind, it would’ve been B.A. The floor beneath our feet vibrated, people screamed as they hurried onto the ship. I eyed our craft. This better work.

When we got aboard, the door behind us lifted and closed. Everyone was belted into seats around a large interior, holding helmets, suits, more weapons, and pull down beds. It was something straight off a set of Star Wars. Caleb clutched me tight, tugging me toward the cockpit.

“Do you know how to fly this thing?” I asked, taking a seat between Caleb and his grandpa. Or maybe I should’ve asked if it could fly. Dear Lord, where was the real Han Solo when you needed him. Hell, I’d take his Wookie at this point!

Dr. Z shot me a smile. “Of course. I knew this day was coming. Caleb and I are pilots.”

“Full throttle,” Caleb said, putting on a headset. “We’ll have to blast the wall or we’re not going to get out of here.”

Dr. Z pulled a handle down; his thumb hovered over a red button. “Hang on everybody.”

With one click, fiery red beams shot from our ship taking out the wall and roof. Caleb tugged the steering column back and we lifted from the ground, then shot forward like a cannon ball.

As we flew, I glanced down to see entire towns burning and the large craft responsible for it. Aliens were real. Tears blurred my vision. Our families were gone. And who knew how long we’d survive.

Caleb wrapped an arm around my shoulders. “Everything will be okay, Kayla. You’ll see.”

We cleared into the upper atmosphere, then darted into space. Stars surrounded us, speeding past like a light show.

“He’s right, you know.” Dr. Z pushed an autopilot button. “We’re going to be fine. Just have to make it to the Alpha Red Six space station for supplies. We can survive out here for years.” He got to his feet. “Now, I need to inform our passengers that all is well. Keep us on course Caleb boy.”

When Dr. Z left, Caleb pushed some buttons then turned to me. “I’m glad you came with us.” His fingers traced my cheek and he moved closer, his lips brushing mine. “I always knew you’d be the one.”

My heart thudded in my ears. “The one?”

“My very own Leia. You kicked some alien butt back there.”

“Well, I didn’t don the costume for no reason.” I laughed in spite of everything. Maybe being stuck on spaceship wouldn’t be so bad after all. 

 

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Miranda Buchanan

Rachel Marie Pratt

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Photo Credit: lespowell at Morguefile.com

 

My mother slammed the can of coffee on the counter. “You almost cost me my job, Elena. Out of all the boys in the galaxy and you had to choose, Drycen Mackler, my boss’s son.”

“I said I was sorry.” My eyelids shut, as I took a deep breath to compose myself. Why couldn’t she understand, I was sick of hiding who I was. After a moment, my gaze focused on her.

“People with your kind of power are in high demand. You know how much they sell girls like you for?” Mom shook her finger at me. “I have enough problems supporting you and your sisters without having to deal with the prospect of losing my job. All it takes is for Drycen to get angry and blurt our secret.”

Faint light showed through the dingy window of our two room apartment. God, it wasn’t like I’d asked to have an infinity for fire. And I damn sure didn’t ask Mom to take me to work with her yesterday. I swallowed hard, remembering Drycen’s room. Mom wanted me to help clean the Mackler’s house so she could finish early and get home to make my sister Emily a birthday cake. I was assigned his quarters.

I’d been making his bed, when I heard the whoosh of his washing compartment open. Drycen stepped out, wrapped in a towel. His shaggy dark hair wet, his toned body solid and glistening. Everything happened so quickly. At first he’d seemed startled to find me in his room, then the next thing I knew he kissed me.  

That’s when I lost control of my power and set his curtains on fire. We got the flames put out and he promised not to tell anyone. This time he ran his fingers through my hair, kissing me more gently. Of course, his mother chose that moment to walk into his room. The rest, as they say, was history. His mom freaked about him being with the maid’s daughter, my mom freaked when she noticed the charred curtains. Luckily, Mom got a way with a warning and was told not to bring me to work again. Unfortunately for the both of them, I’d still see him tomorrow. 

Drycen and I went to the Air Academy together, where we both trained to be ship pilots. I was there on a full scholarship, while his parents paid the ridiculous tuition. Although, if anyone discovered my abilities, I’d likely be sent out to Centurion One, a space station where they kept and sold people like me to the highest bidder.

“Mom, can we just drop it?”

She scowled. “Good idea. Why don’t you watch your sisters while I run to the market to fetch more eggs.”

I watched as she slipped a laser into her side pocket, then punch in the code on the number pad to let herself out of the apartment.

When she was gone, my sister Talia plopped down on the couch and smiled. “So, I heard Drycen kissed you?”

My cheeks warmed. “Yeah.” At sixteen, it was about time something like this happened to me. But it wasn’t something I wanted to explain to my fourteen year old sister.

“Mom about shit herself.” She laughed. “I heard her on the intercom with someone right after you got home. She was mad.”

“I’m surprised she didn’t call Aunt Suzette on Mars, to see if they’d take me in,” I snorted. “If it wasn’t for my scholarship, I’d probably be on the first ship out.”

Talia patted my hand. “She’ll simmer down, give her a few days. Besides, if you landed Drycen, her financial worries would be over.”

If only. But right now, I had to concentrate on graduating the academy or I’d be stuck working as a maid, like Mom.

***

 “I need you to run an errand for me before school,” Mom said, handing me a large package. “You’ll want the last door on your left at the subway station.”

“What is it?”

“None of your business. Now go tell your sisters goodbye.” Mom ushered me to the lone bedroom where Talia was wiping back tears.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” She sniffled. “Just banged my ankle on the dresser.”

I grinned. Once I gave them each a hug, I left the apartment with the package in hand. I crossed the busy street, avoiding robots and humans alike as they moved toward the subway system. The scent of rocket-fuel hung heavy in the air, as ships buzzed by overhead. Transportation for the rich, while the rest of us suffered the subway.

My gaze faltered as I stared at the missing person posters that were plastered along the subway entrance. Most of them had likely been sold. With a shiver, I quickened my pace, fingering the knife in my pocket. Soon, I pushed through the crowds in the terminal, searching for the door my mother told me to find.

I went down a dark tunnel the air cold and damp. After a moment, I found the last door and gave a knock.  A hooded figure answered and behind him, I saw several people in shackles and cages. Oh God.

Before I could run, someone struck me over the head. Mom had betrayed me.

***

When I came too, I was chained and sitting on a podium beneath the subway. Lined up next to me were some of the others.

“The first magic-born up for bid, comes to us from the Academy. Elena Bartok is a pilot, and also has skills as a fire wielder. Our starting price for her is $50,000.00.” A man in a suit hollered.

Below, I watched the crowd begin to chatter. I saw a paddle go up in the back. Number 261. Then the man asked for more bids. Soon the price was up to $200,000. Oh God. These people were crazy. Fear engulfed me like a forest fire when the gavel came down.

“Sold to number 266. Please come around to the west bay to collect your prize.”

Someone jerked me up by the arms, and shoved me down a corridor. At first, I tried to get away, but the shackles kept me from running.

My cloaked buyer, handed the cash over to my captor, then took the key for my shackles.

“Why are you doing this?” I asked as I was led to a large ship on the outskirts of town.

But the man didn’t answer. Soon we loaded the ship, where my cuffs were finally taken off. The cloaked man turned to me and lowered his hood. Drycen.

“Sorry,” he said. “But it was the only way.”

“My mother sold me to you?”

“Actually, both our parents decided it was best if we left Earth. My mom couldn’t stand the idea of me being in love with her maid’s daughter—she has a reputation to uphold, or so she says.” Drycen ushered me to the cockpit. “I assured her my feelings wouldn’t change, so Dad suggested they buy me a ship and let me do what I want. But your mother wouldn’t let you go for free.”

“She has to support my sisters,” I said in her defense. “I’m sure your parents weren’t likely to keep her on after catching us.”

He nodded his agreement. “They said they’d agree to a payoff for her silence, but that no one was to know. Since they didn’t want anyone tracing the money back to them, they decided to use a middle man—the auctioneer.”

“So now what?” My gaze shifted to him as I sat in the co-pilot seat.

“Now, you’re mine. We no longer have to sneak around. Out here,” he gestured to the ship. “We’re equals.”

Tears welled in my eyes, as I clasped his hand. In one swift movement he gathered me in his arms, his lips branded mine.

Finally, I belonged.


Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Sand blew across the small desert town, scratching against my skin like tiny claws. I pushed the kerchief higher around my chin, then used the mallet to secure the last tent stake. I grinned as I stared at the large white and red tent, Father’s name in swooping black letters. Rudy Riser’s Robotic Circus.

His robots were the most revered in the country. People even came from Mars and the space stations to watch his show. Robots, humans, animals, all interacting under one roof. It hardly seemed possible, especially after the Dark War when machines and animals took over. Father had managed to cut a deal with Prez, the top bot in the states. He’d run the circus and continue to create new weapons for Prez, as long as we could be free to travel the systems.

Prez agreed, and so I was marked as one of his. Most humans hated us, the robots thought we got special treatment, and the animals, well they didn’t care much either way, as long as someone fed them.

The low drone of Bray’s travel ship made me turn. I held a hand up to block the sun from my eyes and smiled. His dark hair curled at the nape of his neck, his mocha colored eyes fixed on me. He climbed from the land ship, his tall frame moved toward me.

“Kaye, your dad said to take you out for a bit. Get you something to eat.”

His hand caught mine, and he dragged me away from the tent. I saw the electric whip, fastened at his belt, the armored gauntlets attached to his billowy shirt. Bray was our lion tamer. He trained both the live ones, and the robotic ones. It was hard to believe he was only eighteen, a year older than me.

“What’s the occasion? Dad never lets us have time off.” I untied the bandana from around my face, and used it to wipe my forehead. Already, strands of blonde hair clung to my sweaty skin.

Bray didn’t answer right away. Instead, he climbed behind the wheel of the ship and waited for me to do the same. As soon as I was seated, he placed his palm against the dash and the computer registered his prints. Like a flash of lightning, we were flying.

“Prez stopped by. He didn’t look too happy,” Bray said at last.

Goosebumps dappled my skin, and I turned to him. Oh God. What had Father done? My grip tightened on the edge of the seat. “What’s going on?”

We passed two large RAM (Robot Army Men) platoons marching toward our tents.

“Don’t look back, Kaye.” He reached for my hand, his fingers entwining mine. “Rudy said to take you to Hank.”

Boom! From behind us, I heard the sound of explosives. Then screams. All the animals and robots and humans. Then silence enfolded the desert surroundings.

Tears streamed down my cheeks, and I scooted closer to Bray, burying my head against his shoulder.

“What did he do?” I demanded through choking sobs.

Bray pulled back on the steering wheel, lifting us higher into the sky. He released my hand, pushing a button to close the top of our ship. Oxygen blasted through the vents, and I fastened my seatbelt, as Bray triggered the warp-speed.

A small computer slid from the console. He typed in our coordinates, then switched to auto-pilot.

“Bray?” I said again, tears burning my eyes.

“Your father started a rebellion, Kaye,” he said. “The people, robots, and animals didn’t just work for the circus—they were soldiers. They planned an uprising against Prez.”

I swallowed hard. This couldn’t be true. Father wouldn’t have risked his life like that. Then I remembered the meetings, I wasn’t allowed to attend. The mail and disks I had to deliver on his behalf. Oh God. It was true. 

“And you? You were a part of it?”

He touched my cheek, his fingers gliding over my skin. “Yes. I wanted a better future Kaye—a future where I wasn’t a prisoner of the robots. A chance to have a life with you,” he whispered.

“Now, we have nothing! Father’s dead. The others are dead,” I cried. 

“Your father gave me money to take care of you. When we get to Hank’s, he’ll hide us and I’ll get messages to our contacts and let them know there’s been a change of plan. That I’m taking over the rebellion.”

Bray’s eyes begged me to believe him. And I wanted to. I’d been in love with him since I was eleven—after Father had first brought him on board to help. But I’d seen what’d happened to the others. Besides, how was Hank going to protect us? He was just a robot. A retired cowboy robot.

I closed my eyes. Bray was all I had left. My stomach knotted as I thought about Father, and his workers. They deserved to be remembered. They deserved to be avenged.

“Promise me, we won’t stop fighting until Prez is gone,” I said at last.

Bray leaned closer, his lips brushed mine. “You have my word.”

***

Our ship landed later that night, at an abandoned space ranch. Bray led me toward a cave like room, an old barrel sitting by the entrance.

“That you Bray?” A robotic cowboy head poked up from inside it.

“We’re here Hank,” he said.

“The others are gathered inside,” Hank said. Then his gears shifted and he glanced at me. If robots could cry, I knew he would. “I’m sorry about Rudy.”

I patted his metal armature. “Thank you.”

“I’ll take care of you, Kaye.” His gloved hand brushed mine, then he disappeared back into the barrel.

There was no telling what my future would harbor, but I knew the rebellion had just begun. Prez might’ve stopped my father, but his plans lived on—through us. 

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

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