PREQUEL NOVELLA (0.25)
Steampunk, Action, Fantasy, Horror, Young Adult
Press-ganged into servitude by a ruthless band of marauders who survived the devastating Storm, Nash has grown tired of his career– the young, undefeated champion of the Stray Dog fighting pits. All he longs for is a place to live where his family is not his enemy.
When his captain gives him an assignment to embed him deeper into the crew, Nash attempts to refuse, until the life of his friend is threatened. Determined to save her, Nash embarks on the mission to subjugate and control a supplier. But the supplier has other clients, one of which could be the son of the most feared pirate captain in all of Westraven.
And if Nash plays his cards right, the key to his deeply desired freedom, if he can live with the consequences of his choice…
Set two years before the events of CRIMSON SKY, this prequel novella tells the story of how Nash and Sawyer crossed paths– and fists. While best enjoyed before reading CRIMSON SKY, this bonus story can be read at any time or enjoyed as a standalone.
My sight was red. I lost control when I got Dylan on the ground. It was out of my reach now.
And I didn’t want it back.
Growling like an animal, I bent my knees and jumped back, letting myself fall onto the ground. Crushing Stanner beneath me. He screamed as my weight pounded on his fractured chest. The arm around my neck was gone.
Then I rolled off him, and really started the beating.
Stanner couldn’t move. Probably couldn’t breathe. None of that stopped me from kicking and stomping every part of him I laid eyes on. He tried to kill me. Would have killed me.
Should have known better.
I stopped. He called my name, shouted it at the top of his lungs. The rest of the crowd fell silent. This probably wasn’t the first time he’d shouted at me.
I looked over my shoulder, lifted my eyes from the wide dirt pit, and found Ryland.
He was impossible to miss, nearly twice as big as me, despite his age. Broad shoulders and swollen biceps strained against his black leather vest. With long grey hair hanging to his shoulders and a wild grey beard, Ryland looked every bit as rabid as the snarling dog tattooed on his chest.
He stood on the rim of the Crater, staring at me with piercing grey eyes. A scowl twisted his weathered face, slowly turning into a smug grin.
“Congratulations,” he said for the crowd to hear. He looked at the rugged Dogs and the filthy Runts. “Let’s hear it for Nash, still the undefeated Crater champion!”
Most of the crowd roared with joy. Others booed. I was too tired to care about which I appreciated more.
A rope ladder was rolled over the edge of the Crater. Before I went to it, I looked back at my opponents. Now that the rage was gone from my vision, I could clearly see what I had done.
Dylan was still lying in a heap, his face red, swollen, and lumped from bruises and broken bones. Stanner groaned and winced, rolling on the ground with his hands wrapped around his ribs and chest as if to hold his bruised and likely broken bones inside his skin.
Horror filled my chest, the way it always did when I finished a fight in the Crater. Crushing shame filled my heart and drowned me. I took a couple steps closer to Stanner, wanting to help him.
He cringed at the sight of me.
I stopped and glanced over my shoulder at my captain. He was waiting impatiently. As far as Ryland was concerned, anyone beaten in the Crater didn’t need help from the Dogs. Until they proved otherwise, they were beneath us. Weak and useless.
I grabbed the rope ladder and climbed from the Crater, my victory feeling more hollow with every step.
Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.
Social Media Links
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Amy-Braun/e/B00MU4BBYS/
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.) http://amybraunauthor.com/shop/
Steampunk, Action, Fantasy, Horror, Young Adult
They’re always watching. They’re always waiting. They’re always starving…
Ten years ago, the sky shattered and the Hellions emerged. No one was able to keep them from destroying the city of Westraven. Now that the bloodthirsty monsters rule the skies and have forced the few remaining humans underground, Claire Abernathy lives in a nightmare. She survives by using her skills as an engineer for a ruthless tyrant connected to her mother and father’s past failure.
Then Claire’s world is torn apart when her sister Abby is kidnapped by the Hellions, and Claire herself is taken by dangerous sky pirates known as marauders. But Claire will not be intimidated by them while her sister’s life hangs by a thread, and so she strikes a deal with them: If they help rescue Abby, she will fix their ship and give them the chance to take the revenge they desperately seek.
As Claire fights for her sister’s life, she begins to realize that the Hellions are not the only dangers she’ll face. Burdensome secrets and devastating betrayals threaten her at every turn, and if she loses herself to them, it won’t just be her life that is destroyed…
The sky used to hold hope for me. Now it only held terror.
My legs ached with every movement, but I didn’t have time for pain. If I stopped to feel it, they would catch me. They would stab their onyx claws into my back and drag me into the ground. They would plunge their needles into my neck to drain all the blood in my body, and no amount of screaming would stop them–
Damn it, Claire! Don’t think about it! Move!
Thinking of my own horrible death was exactly what I needed to run faster.
We’re almost there, I told myself. Close, we’re so close–
A piercing scream came from behind me, startling me so badly I nearly tripped on the rocky ground. I shouldn’t have glanced over my shoulder, but I had to know how close the Hellions were, and who they had grabbed.
Gordon had been taken down, one of the Hellions pushing him into the broken concrete, putting its knees in his back and trapping him. The monster didn’t hesitate, crunching its body down and stabbing the pointed needle of its respirator into the back of Gordon’s neck. My partner screamed as the blood was sucked out of him, feeding the Hellion.
Two more of the monsters charged out from beyond a cracked slump of white stone. They didn’t glance at Gordon or the feasting Hellion. They wanted us.
I hated that daylight didn’t slow them down anymore, and wished they hadn’t learned how to cover themselves from the sun. In the beginning, they only came at night, descending from the Behemoth in their quick raiding skiffs and taking anyone they could snatch in their claws. It was horrifying– it always would be– but we’d been able to predict them.
Now they were prepared. They dressed in black jumpsuits with blood-red buttons along the left breast. The heavy boots, leather gloves, and round helmet almost made them look like the old Sky Guard, aside from the black gas mask with two black bulging glass goggles that made their eyes resemble an insect’s.
A black respirator with a pointed needle on the end covered the Hellion’s mouth, their tool for drinking blood during the day. I’d never been stabbed with one of those needles, and intended to keep it that way.
Kevin sprinted beside me, but he was panting heavily. He’d drawn his flintlock when the Hellion skiffs appeared and found us, but hadn’t fired a single shot. I wished he’d give me the damn thing. I wasn’t a swashbuckler, but at least I would put up a fight, or distract them so–
No time like the present.
Steampunk, Action, Fantasy, Horror, Young Adult
There are secrets, there are betrayals, and there are sacrifices…
The Behemoth has been destroyed, and the bloodthirsty Hellions seem to have left Westraven. But Claire Abernathy’s mind is not at ease. A terrible disease plagues her sister, appearing to have been brought on the Vesper, the leader of the Hellions beyond the tear between worlds– the Breach.
To save Abby and stop the Hellions for good, Claire must find the machine her parents built before the attacks, and fix it before the monsters return. To do so, she needs the help of her crew, and must ignore the secrets and rivalries between her captain and the man she saved.
Because the Hellions are not the only dangers following Claire. Twisted humans and old enemies surface to stop her and destroy all she loves. While she is determined to endure the trials, a single betrayal could shatter the hope of a better world, and force Claire to make a choice that will cost her dearly…
“Tell me everything you know about the Vesper,” I demanded, staring at Riley with barely controlled anxiety.
Fear for my sister’s life cut through the peace and calm I’d felt just an hour ago. Now I was awake and alert, and desperate to do something.
Riley stared at me from across the deck of the Dauntless. I was the one asking the questions, but Sawyer was standing at my side. Gemma and Nash, neither of whom was seriously wounded despite what the blood on their faces and arms suggested, had roused Moira from her sleep to tell her what happened. Moira was a whirlwind of distress and barreled into the room, almost knocking Nash and Gemma down when they followed her into the cabin to watch Abby as she fitfully slept. I was reluctant to leave her for even a second, especially when the red tinges in her eyes hadn’t faded, but I needed answers. I didn’t think Riley would lie to me, but I did think he knew more than he let on.
“They were careful when they spoke around me, so there isn’t much I can tell you–”
“I don’t care. I need to know what’s going on. I need to know what he’s doing to Abby.”
Riley held my gaze for a long time, as though he wanted me to drop the subject. I refused. Even if I did let it go, Sawyer was right beside me. He wanted answers, and he wouldn’t take Riley’s physical well-being into account when he got them.
Seeing that he couldn’t escape this conversation, Riley sighed in defeat.
“Like I said, they were careful when they spoke around me. But they had looser tongues when they thought I was sleeping. Some of the Hellions thought they could practice their Aonian,” He stalked over to the crates near the starboard side of the deck and settled onto one. He hunched over, resting his elbows on his knees. He was the picture of defeat.
“The Vesper was the first of his kind in a place they called Hellnore. It must be the world beyond the Breach. I don’t know how he was made, but they way the Hellions speak of him, you’d think he was a god.” He shrugged limply. “Maybe he is. The point is that anyone who encounters him is unwaveringly loyal.” He lifted his eyes. “There’s nothing you can do to change that.”
Sawyer stiffened. I shared his unease.
“It’s said that Hellions aren’t born, but created. If the Vesper deems them worthy, he takes away their humanity. He makes them monsters. They say he’s ushering in a new world, and that Aon will pay for the damage it brought to their home. Westraven will suffer the worst, because we were the ones that found the Breach. In the Vesper’s eyes, we were the ones that invaded. He just took advantage.”
And now he’s looking for revenge, I thought.
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