Genre: Dystopian Romance
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp.,
Lyrical Press Imprint
Date of Publication: November 17, 2014
Number of pages: 72
Word Count: 33,718
Cover Artist: Renee Rocco
Two lives. Two realities. But only one truth.
The Senator reigns all-powerful in a manifested picture-perfect world. No worries. No wars. Only the unspoken threat of oblivion if you step a toe out of line. On the other side of the divide, the rebels face a debilitating war against an invulnerable robotic army. Every day is a struggle to earn back their freedoms. Freedom to feel. Freedom of speech. Freedom of thought.
Sergeant Grant Baker is pivotal to the war effort. But ever since his wife’s abduction, he’s been walking around in as much of a daze as the Senator’s brainwashed citizens. Then Eva reappears—without memories of him or their son. And he’s willing to do anything to keep her. Even if it means jeopardizing the war.
Eva doesn’t know which side to believe. Her predictable life as a single nurse, or the man claiming to be her husband. All she knows is she needs to discover how to end the war, quickly. If she doesn’t choose sides soon, she may lose the man—and the life—she never knew she wanted.
Acting as vanguard for the injured squad, Grant turned a corner and froze. A hulky man carried a limp woman over his shoulder.
Grant automatically reached for his gun. Even if they weren’t yet across the divide, he couldn’t stand idle as a man accosted a woman. Or worse. He aimed the rifle at the criminal. “Set her down nice and easy.”
The man froze. He glanced over one meaty shoulder, his unshaven mouth set in a scowl.
“Set her down, or I’ll shoot.”
A gold tooth flashed as the criminal grinned. He hurled the small woman at Grant and dashed for the slim space between two buildings.
Grant moved without thinking. His gun clattered to the ground as he lunged forward to catch the woman before she split her head open on the sidewalk. He grunted as he caught her with her weight against his bruised forearms. He shot a flickering glance her way. A riot of brown curls obscured her face. He set her gently on the ground.
He dashed for the opening the shady figure had disappeared into, but saw no sight of the man. The delinquent was long gone.
Ashland panted as he jogged to Grant’s side. “What happened?”
If Grant never heard that question again, it would be too soon. He shook his head wearily. “Mugging, I guess.”
“They still have those here? I thought the Senator brought an end to violence.” Ashland drew sarcastic quotes in the air as he spoke.
Grant didn’t bother to answer. He turned to the woman and where his squad was now gathered. A horrified private glanced from the woman to Grant and back again. “What do you want us to do with her…sir?”
If they left her, the Senator’s people might find her and stick her back in the pen with the rest of their brainwashed sheep. Then again, that same goon might double back to continue what he started.
He crossed to the woman and crouched to lift her into his arms. Her tangled hair fell away from her face. He nearly dropped her. “Eva?”
Frantically, he pressed his ear to her chest. Her breathing was shallow, but her heartbeat steady and strong. He clutched her tighter. He couldn’t believe it.
He’d found his wife.
Grant and Eva’s Ten Tips to Surviving a Government Takeover
After living for eight years at the heart of a resistance movement against a corrupt government brainwashing its citizens into compliance -- or else eliminating them altogether -- Grant and Eva Baker from Hellish Haven consider themselves experts at the art of sticking it to The Man.
How did they do it, you may ask? I’ll let Grant and Eva take the stage on this one…
Eva: Stockpile supplies, especially medical supplies. And while you’re at it, learning some rudimentary nursing for patching up injuries on the field is critical. After all, you…
Grant: Can’t visit any facilities owned or monitored by the government. Not hospitals, libraries, public transportation or even church if you have reason to believe you will be caught.
Eva: While you’re at it, avoid any media which might be influenced by the government. This includes radio, television, and yes, even internet.
Grant: Be careful who you trust. Even your wife…
Eva: When are you going to let that go? I was brainwashed. And I stopped myself in the end!
Grant: *sidles closer, whispers* Trust no one.
Eva: *surreptitiously kicks under the table*
Grant: While I’m at it, I’d like to mention that when walking into enemy territory you should always, always, always be armed.
Eva: *rolls eyes* It was one time…
Grant: All it takes is one time to result in utter disaster.
Eva: You know that old adage about not accepting candy from strangers? Well don’t take vitamins or “medicine” doled out by the government either…especially if you know you aren’t sick.
Grant: Virtual photo frames with little red dots in the corner should probably be avoided, too.
Eva: Especially if they change on their own. *shudders*
Grant: A gunshot solves that pretty quickly.
Eva: As always in dangerous territory, make sure to stress to your kids to remain inside or behind cover at all times.
Grant: I don’t even know why you’re mentioning that one. Miguel never gives us any trouble. I trained our little soldier well.
Eva: Exactly. Our little soldier. This is exactly why we have to get the hell away from this place.
Grant: *nudges* We’re in front of company, honey. Can you try to look happy?
Eva: *whispers* How am I supposed to do that when we’re fighting a war just outside our door?
Grant: *forced smile* Always have an escape plan, my friends. But when in war, don’t let your morals stoop to those of your enemies. If you become no better than they are, what is the point?
Eva: Keep something close at hand that reminds you what you’re fighting for and keeps you moving forward toward your goal.
Grant: *wraps arm around Eva’s shoulders* Actually, that’s good advice for anything.
Read more about Grant and Eva’s tale in Hellish Haven, out now from Lyrical Press.
She reads as obsessively as she writes and likes to Tweet about both at @LBelowtheauthor.
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