Title: Escapement (The Neumarian Chronicles)
Author: Ciara Knight
Genre: YA/NA Speculative Fiction
Hosted by: Lady Amber's Tours
Ten years after the great war of 2185 the queenâs reign is threatened by uprisings and fear. In celebration of my sixteenth birthday it is my duty as princess to sacrifice a slave to be initiated into the ruling council, solidifying my motherâs empire. When my own erratic powers surface Iâm captured and tried for treason. Slaves hate me, my mother wants me executed, and my only chance of survival rests in the hands of a young man, Ryder Arteres, whose sister I sentenced to death.
Ciara Knight writes with a âLittle Edge and a Lot of Heartâ with her contemporary and paranormal romance books. Her most recent #1 Amazon bestselling series, Sweetwater County, has topped the charts and received acclaimed reviews. Her international best-seller, Pendulum scored 4 stars from RT Book Reviews, accolades from InDâTale Magazine and Night Owl Top Pick. Her young adult paranormal series, Battle for Souls, received 5 stars from Paranormal Romance Guild and Night Owlâs Top Pick, among other praises.
Website: http://www.ciaraknight.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ciaraknightwrites Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ciaratknight Instagram: https://instagram.com/ciaratknight/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5127753.Ciara_Knight Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Jc5ASNBuy Links: Amazon: http://amzn.to/1MsI1KA
The door swung open and four guards entered before Dred stormed in. âMalvak orders ya all to the platform now.â
My stomach flopped. âNo. It hasnât been an hour.â
âMalvakâs orders changed.â
âYou said theyâd be spared,â Ryder argued.
âThey be ordered to watch.â
Dredâs words stung like a laser through my heart. âNo, please. You canât. Itâs too soon.â
Ryder still clutched one arm and wouldnât let me go. âSemara, listen to me.â
âNo, I wonât. This isnât going to happen. Iâll tell Malvak who I am and order your release.â
âNot wise.â Dred shoved the key into Ryderâs cell door.
I had to do something, anything to stop this.
âWe need you, Semara. Youâre the only one left in this war-torn world who can protect Raeth. Please, I promised my folks before they were murdered Iâd take care of her. Once Iâm goneââ
âDonât say that.â Tears stung my eyes and I wanted to pull him against me and disappear.
Ryder reached through the bars and held the back of my head so our foreheads touched. âOnce Iâm gone, you are her only family.â
âEnough, itâs time,â Dred ordered.
The guards rushed into the cell, bound Ryderâs wrists, and dragged him from the cell. One guard grabbed Raeth by the arm and did the same to me. Dred stood at the outside of my cell, door open, waiting for me to exit.
âI did all I could,â Dred said with a heavy, deep tone. He bound my wrists and stepped back. âSorry, Malvak orderedââ
âYou could do more. Trust me, youâll regret this later. Youâll go to sleep each night with Ryderâs face haunting your dreams. Iâm still tortured by making a wrong choice when I was only twelve.â
I shoved past him and went out to the center of town. Acid rose in my throat at the sight of the noose hanging from a wood beam. It had to be wood. If it had been metal, I couldâve melted it and bought some more time.
Maybe I could try Ryderâs plan and incapacitate Dred before he stopped me, then get his gun and take a few down. If we could find cover and some metal weâd have a chance.
I watched Dred out of the corner of my eye as we approached the platform.
âDonât try it, pretty face. Iâve trained for years to be a faster draw with me powers. Ya donât stand a chance. All youâll accomplish is ya own death.â
I lifted my chin, determined to fight. âI canât stand by and watch him die.â
âYa donât have a choice. None of us do,â Dred insisted.
âYou do. Let me use my powers and the three of us escape. Otherwise, youâll have innocent blood on your hands.â I pleaded.
Wind whipped through the village. Creaks echoed from the skywalks. Water swished through the steel waterways above. Cannons and barbed wire lined an exterior wall. It was a fortress.
Mother had been right to fear them. Even if I freed Ryder, how could we get out? I suspected the walls were electrified. Maybe I could short out the wires, but Iâd need Raethâs help to demolish the wall.
Even if we managed to break through the wall, then what? Weâd have to get a ship and figure out where we were.
There had to be a way to save him. I had to be missing something.
A horn sounded and people came out of homes and buildings, flooding the street to watch Ryderâs execution. Didnât they see they were no better than the council?
I wrung my hands and pulled at my rope bindings that rubbed my skin raw.
The smell of animals and desert sand carried on the wind.
A tall man appeared on one of the skywalks with a fluffy cape of animal fur lining his huge frame. I couldnât make out his features, but he definitely had a tattoo running across his forehead. A reflection of sunlight off his face indicated some piercings.
âThis here Neumarian is charged with bringing the councilâs wrath to our land. Do we wish to sacrifice our way of life and be enslaved to the council?â
âNo,â the crowd yelled back as if in a trance.
âTerminate the prisoner and send his body as a gift to the queen.â
âNo!â I cried out and ran for the platform. âYouâre wrong. We only wish to go in peace. The queen doesnât know weâre here. We brought a gift!â
I ran up the steps, but a guard snagged my hair, knocking me down so hard the wood cracked against my shoulder. A pain shot down my arm. Ryder shouldered the man and raced to my side. âSemara, please, donât do this.â
âI canât watch you die,â I managed through sobs.
The guards tore us apart and placed Ryder on top of a box.
I fought with all my strength and drew heat from my core to my hands, but the mind splitting pain made me collapse. I lay on the floor of the platform forced to watch the noose being secured around his neck.
âProceed with the execution.â
The guard kicked the box out from under Ryder and the rope snapped tight around his throat.