Name: Raluca Balasa
Ebony Arden never imagined she’d see the light of day again, let alone hold the fate of the country’s most hated leader, General Lucian Devereaux, in her hands. Both things happen when Ebony’s breakout from the state-run concentration camp is engineered by an enemy of Devereaux’s to look like his idea.
Finally, Devereaux’s rivals have the perfect pretext – treason against the state of Durus Archos – to turn the army against him. Ebony, now imprisoned at his estate and first on his to-kill list, knows she’s the only one who can prove the wretched man guilty. Oh, she plans to; the only problem is that the more time she spends with Devereaux, the less convinced she becomes that he’s the cause of the war. Worse still, she forms a fragile bond with the man she’d written off as heartless.
But Devereaux’s rivals need him gone to release a new biological weapon that he refuses to condone. Fearing their rule might not be any better than his, Ebony’s suddenly not sure she wants to prove Devereaux guilty of treason – but continuing to play house with a man who may or may not be using her seems equally dangerous. Only one thing’s certain: placing her trust in the wrong people could ravage the world her ancestors had worked so hard to rebuild.
First 250 words:
General Lucian Devereaux strode the Cliffhanger’s halls with anger pulsing in his temples, paying little attention to the two men in black and their captive who hung his head and dragged his feet. The men saluted, then continued to a winding stone staircase that would take them to the dungeons. As they passed, Lucian caught a whiff of something metallic in the air.
He’d let nothing distract him thus far to the conference room, but this made him pause. He closed his eyes for a moment and exhaled a long sigh through his nose. “Wait.”
Both men stopped on the first step, turned. “Sir?”
Lucian approached them with his hands clasped behind his back, his gaze travelling down to the prisoner’s swollen, mangled leg. Blood streaked the entrance hall’s marble floors where the prisoner had been dragged.
“What happened?” Lucian demanded through clenched teeth.
The taller of the men grunted. “The scum put up a fight, General.”
“I need my prisoners healthy enough for experimentation. This man is in septic shock.”
Both men blinked. “Forgive us, General, we weren’t aware –”
Lucian’s fury intensified like a fist to the stomach, and judging by the men’s paling faces, they saw it in his expression. “It would be wise,” he warned them, keeping his voice soft, “not to make such a mistake again. Ensure that he dies quickly and painlessly.”
He tightened his grip on the parchment in his hand and swept from the hallway before they could start their witless utterances of apology.