Read the first 6 chapters of GENTLE CHAINS
Pre-Order GENTLE CHAINS on Amazon
When slavers steal Juhan and his twin sister Chosi from their home planet of psychics, their only comfort is in the fact that they’re together. When they are separated at auction, Juhan swears to find his sister, no matter the cost. Juhan is bought by the spoiled daughter of a political scion. Caught in her glittering world of intrigue and politics, Juhan is startled to find Sadi playing a long game to change intergalactic politics and Juhan is merely a pawn in her game. But as his vow and Sadi's lies takes them across galaxies, he begins to wonder if his young owner is more than an arrogant rich girl. And he has to consider the cost of his promise—especially when people they both care for begin to die. A galaxy away, Chosi is sold into blood sport. With her psychic ability, she earns a precarious position of value within the gladiator school, training the draken—wild creatures of smoke and fire—for the arena. In the midst of that hell, she forges a friendship with the slave Jemes and the draken she cares for. But when her defiance comes with devastating results, Chosi contemplates suicide as an escape from her chains. Yet, she can't forget the brother who promised to find her, and even as she welcomes the risk of death, she clings to that promise. Spun across space and exotic worlds, Juhan and Chosi try to find each other, and home in a stunning story about the lengths love will take you.
I wake up slowly, and lift my head. The quiet hum is comforting and familiar--I’m on the Leen. “Where is Sadi?” I murmur, shifting to stand.
“Galley,” the ship answers promptly, and I stagger to the door. “Ill-advised. I will inform Sadi of your status.”
“Disregard. I’m fine,” I answer, and the ship subsides, with a minute rumble of systems that makes me think it’s disgruntled.
I find Sadi slumped at the table, cradling a mug of warm chocolate, fatigue pulling her eyes closed. Tin stirs something on the hotsurface, the smell of spice and cream and vegetables thick in the air. I watch them, testing the surface of their emotions before I clear my throat. Sadi glances blearily at me, and then nudges a chair out with a loud screech. I sink down and we sit silently for a long time before she asks, hoarsely, “Want some? Chocolate can make anything better.”
I take the proffered cup, recognizing it for the peace offering it is. “How’s that working for you?” I ask before taking a sip. Liquid, velvet heat fills my mouth, slides down my throat. It tastes like a memory, and I struggle to see past a vision of Chosi and a thousand mornings, sitting at the table with her and a cup of chocolate. I force the memory away, focusing on Sadi.
Sadi shrugs and gives me a weak smile. “Not terribly well.”
I touch her psyche again, feeling the conflict, disgust and desperation. Her eyes are impossibly young when they find mine. “How does this happen? There are thousands injured--we didn’t even make a dent today. And that says nothing of the dead. And no one cares. Because they’re whores,” she finishes bitterly. She almost snatches the chocolate from me, burying her nose in the cup.
“What are the estimates on the dead?”
“Thirty thousand, in Centari alone,” Tin answers. He ladles out soup and hands steaming bowls around. “Ninety percent of the dead were slaves.”
Sadi glares. “That doesn’t make the deaths acceptable.”
“No one said it did, Sadi,” he says mildly and nudges her spoon. She stares at it and then takes a tiny bite. As soon as she swallows, her eyes widen and she bolts from the table.
Tin drops his spoon with a curse and moves to go after her. “Let me,” I say, standing and following her.
She’s leaning over the commode, tears streaming down her face. I let my mind go, touching along her psyche, a flutter of moth wings. It’s so broken, shattered into so many pieces it stuns me. How can she appear so together when she is completely broken?
-How can we expect to make a difference?- she whispers. -It’s so much and we are so small, and no one cares--no one is even here. The IPS will gladly let their world burn.-
-They care,- I say, uselessly.
She twists to glare at me. -Don’t you dare lie for them. Don’t you dare. They look the other way while your entire world is raped of its people. While your sister is Taken and branded and sold. They use slaves. So don’t you dare lie for them. They don’t deserve it.-
I push aside the truth in her words, the rush of anger that she’s one of the slave owners she’s denouncing, and crouch next to her, brushing hair over her ears and murmuring, “We’ll make a difference because you can’t help it, Sadi. You change things.”
As I say it, I realize how true my words are. She has changed me.
Nazarea Andrews is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. She loves chocolate and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, and overgrown dog.
You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Booktropolous. Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/MtHwj