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by Hilary Thompson
Published January 15th 2014
The people need Justice, but she's not listening. One hundred years before, the Great Sickness reduced the world to three cities. Now the community of Asphodel is trapped underground, waiting for the prophesied maiden of Justice to return and save them from their Fates.
Sixteen-year-old Astrea is supposed to be this savior - too bad for them she isn't a believer. Trea fights against her false destiny: she rebels against her family and friends, then refuses her arranged marriage to the charming but deceitful Lexan. Learning her life is in danger, Trea is forced to trust Lexan - until she discovers a power she never knew she had, and one he already knew he did.
As betrayal closes every door, Trea decides she must submit to her stars and accept her fate. Then a handsome stranger offers her an unexpected escape and the chance to create her own destiny.
ExcerptI wake too early, before night has really ended. I’m restless. I stand before the mirror, fingers touching my temple, imagining the strange electric feeling of Stian’s fingers resting there. I know there are some things I can’t change about my life, like Keirna and Lexan, but as I study my reflection, I imagine that I can see a new strength emerging. I no longer seem like a naïve young girl, sulking through the inevitable constraints of life.
I quickly get ready for school, leaving Mother a note that I left early to meditate. She knows what I do, but not where. Again I leave my hair to curl and flow around my shoulders instead of restraining it in a braid, its color a constant peripheral reminder that I have the spirit of fire living in me – and I can start a revolution.
When I step into the secret room, Stian has just woken. He smiles at me, rubbing sleep from his eyes. I’m struck again by how natural he seems to feel around me.
“I brought you breakfast, but I can’t stay.”
“Good news and bad news,” he smiles. He stands and stretches, his shirt pulling up to expose a bit of taut stomach. I blink my eyes away.
“I have a proposition for you.”
“Will I like it?” he says, his fingers brushing mine a little too closely as they take the offered food.
“Teach me about the outside world,” I continue, trying to ignore how close he stands. He carries such a wild smell, like fresh air and growing things.
“How about I just show it to you?” He rumples his hair.
I shake my head. “Maybe one day. For now, I just need to know what I can expect if I ever go outside.”
He chews thoughtfully, his eyes sliding down my arm, following the curl of my hair. “Okay.” He holds out a hand, like we’re really making a deal. I smile, placing mine in his. He grasps it, covering it with his other hand, his eyes laughing at me. “I have to go to school now.
”I tug my hand free and back away. He watches me go, an indecipherable look on his face. How I act and react are my choice alone, nothing to do with the day I was born. This strategy is mine to devise, and I’m making my own plans for battle.
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About the AuthorHilary Thompson is an independently-published author who released her debut Young Adult novel, Justice Buried, in January, 2014. Justice Buried is the first in a dystopian fantasy series incorporating mythology and astrology, with the second full-length title due later in 2014.
She also teaches high school English, which gives her some insight into her target audience, and helps her maintain a thick skin.