What Are Friends For?
There were times between us that felt totally normal—like, almost the entire time we’d been cutting out snowflakes, things had felt normal. I hadn’t been staring at his mouth or imagining his body heat enveloping me into a hug. We joked like normal, laughed like normal. But the quiet moments between us had my heart aching, wanting.
“See you tomorrow,” Elijah said, and I saw from the corner of my eye the shadow of him rising to his feet. He pressed his hand once against the spot between my shoulder blades before walking off, his socks silent on the wooden floors. I counted each of my breaths as I waited for the sound of the door to open.
It took seven slow inhales and exhales and then Elijah was gone, leaving me with a torrent of thoughts and a hurting heart.
Lock and Capo
Basics of Spellcraft
Dad stayed at the hospital with Mum, so it was just me and my auntie.
“Go on, get some rest,” she said, nodding to my bed as we entered my room. “I’ll try to be quiet as I pack up your things.”
“All of my things?” I asked as I kicked off my boots and pulled my bra out from under my shirt, before getting into bed in my shirt and jeans.
“I’ll take all of your clothes, so you’re not left without choice on the weekends, though there is a uniform through the week. And then I’ll bring your make-up, tablet, medication and laptop, along with chargers, headphones, and other bits. If you’ve got your phone and purse in your handbag, that should cover everything you’ll need. Unless you can think of anything else.”
My hand reached under my covers and found the old, worn toy rabbit that I’d had since I was a child. Mr Fluffy. It seemed silly to ask to pack him – I was sixteen, and I doubted the other kids at Ember would be kind about me still having a soft toy – but still, I clutched him to my chest, feeling a little better for his presence.
To my surprise, Auntie Jess made her way over, smiling and leaning over to gently stroke where the rabbit’s ears popped out from the top of the covers.
“I’m surprised my charm lasted this long.”
“Charm?” I asked, my voice a little muffled from my cheek being pressed into my pillow.
“I spelled the rabbit with a soothing charm when you were little. Though, I doubted it would have lasted this long with just my magic. Maybe your sister-” She cut herself off, as if realising what she had just said.
I frowned. “What sister? Dad said before that he couldn’t lose ‘another’ daughter. What did he mean? Does it have something to do with why we were attacked tonight? They were after me, weren’t they?” As I spoke, another headache formed, the burning behind my eyes getting worse with each word that left my lips. But I couldn’t stop. Not until I had answers.
Auntie Jess sighed. “How’s your head?”
My frown deepened at the random question. “Killing. Why?”
“Because your father wasn’t the only one who had his memories tampered with.”
“Then untamper them.” My words had a little more bite than intended but I couldn’t bring myself to care. “If you took the memories, then surely you can give them back. Dad got his back.”
“I wasn’t the one to take your memories, Amy. And ‘taken’ isn’t really what happened, anyway. A block was placed on both your memories and your magic. The former was intentional, but the latter… Well, intentional or not, it gave you longer than most to have a normal childhood.
“Regardless, I don’t think I need to remove the block. You’ve been fighting it for the past few months, which is why I moved back here and why you’ve been getting the headaches. And why I’ve been pushing you to go to Ember Academy. Gail knows more about this kind of magic than me, so she can take a look in the morning and see if she can help.”
I nodded, holding Mr Fluffy tighter. “You didn’t answer any of my questions.”
“No, I didn’t. I think answering them will weaken the block further, and I don’t want to risk that until Gail has had a chance to have a look.”
I nodded, having to admit that I didn’t want her to mess with something in my head until we were sure it was safe, despite my need to understand.
Despite the fact that people kept referring to a sister that I couldn’t remember.
Who was she? Where was she now? Did she have magic like me?
Even just thinking the questions caused my vision to swim with pain.
Right. The more I pushed the block on my memories, the worse the headaches would get.
Still, there was one question I couldn’t let go.
“But those attackers, they were there for me, weren’t they?”
by Meagan J. Meehan
Publisher: Alban Lake Publishing LLC
Dawn Daniels has always been aware of the dark force within her; a possession that is both the bane of her life and her fierce protector, Dawn must find a way to accept her reality and embrace her destiny.
Meagan J. Meehan is a published author, poet, cartoonist, and produced playwright. She pens columns for the Great South Bay Magazine, Blasting News, KidskinthaBlog, and Entertainment Vine. She is also a stop-motion animator and an award-winning abstract artist. Meagan holds a Bachelors in English Literature, a Masters in Communication, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Educational Psychology. She is an animal advocate and a fledgling toy, game, and shoe designer.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
What Lies in Paradise
The circular steel barrel of a Glock nine-millimeter pushed roughly against Sydney’s left temple. The gun was searing her skin, still warm from the last bullet fired. One large, tan, muscular arm wrapped around her neck, threatening to snuff out her last few breaths.
I should have seen this coming, she thought. I should have known that if I agreed to go along with this ridiculous plan, something terrible would happen and I’d end up dead.
A series of images from her life began to scroll across her brain, like the snapshots from her Instagram feed. She in pigtails blowing out the candles for her sixth birthday. The fabulous pink satin dress that peeked out from her graduation gown, bright enough to match to her beaming smile. A picture of her at a café in Paris posing with a freshly baked chocolate croissant and a steaming cappuccino. She could see the images, but all she could think about were the choices she didn’t make and the people she neglected.
If she survived this moment, gun pressed against her temple, maybe she would start spending more time with her head in the real world, where life was messy and not one picture-perfect square after another. That was her mistake: projecting the perfect life made her believe she had the perfect life, but she didn’t. Had she tapped the Do Not Disturb button every once in a while, maybe she would have sensed the lies that had begun to weave their way into the real world around her. She could have fallen in love with someone different, someone who led a simple, boring life, like an accountant or a mechanic. But who was she kidding? Love doesn’t work that way.
Although there was shouting next to her ear, the voices sounded far away. All Sydney could hear was the blood thumping through her head and the whoosh-whoosh of her heart beating. The large tropical bushes that lined the walkway reached up toward the sky and bent down to form a canopy over the four of them, giving them respite from the burning Jamaican sun. She was not alone, but that didn’t make the situation any better.
She could still hear the soft call of the ocean behind her but all she could see were palm leaves and the crushed gravel pathway beneath her. Sweat was pouring down her face, neck, and back, soaking the pale blue chiffon dress she had just posted herself wearing on social media a few hours ago.
If only my followers could see me now, Sydney thought.
She heard the click of the pistol’s slide, chambering a round. Sydney didn’t believe in bad luck, but this situation might surely change her mind. Why me? she thought as the world started to blur around her like a watercolor painting. She began to taste the tangy bit of blood forming at the back of her mouth. He was holding on too tightly. If only she could wake up from this nightmare and be somewhere else. Like when she woke up at the airport.
That was the beginning.
The Fall of Endurance
Under a New Sun Book 1
by R.L. Blalock
Genre: SciFi Adventure
Publication Date: September 30, 2019
A starship’s sirens scream into the void. Can a highly trained protector fight for peace on an unfamiliar world?
It’s elite soldier Laure’s duty to protect the last of humanity. Four hundred years after Earth fell to alien invaders, she’s only known life on a colonization ship searching through space. But when the vessel is forced to crash land for emergency repairs, Laure comes face to face with a new breed of enemy.
Struggling both to battle aliens and rescue her colonists, Laure never expects to find her other half on the strange planet. As her telepathic and physical bond with the alien grows, she’s horrified to discover the people she’s sworn to protect turn on her and consider her inhuman.
Torn between two species, can Laure defend humankind from extinction?
The Fall of Endurance is the first book in the futuristic Under a New Sun science fiction series. If you like alien encounters, high-stakes action, and strong heroines, then you’ll love R. L. Blalock’s riveting saga.
Buy The Fall of Endurance to join the colonists in the stars today!
**On Sale for only .99 cents!!**
The Burden of Endurance
Under a New Sun Book 2
Publication Date: October 18, 2019
They survived the fall, but can they adapt to life on an unknown planet?
After a human and alien form a telepathic link, the commanders of the Endurance have a special mission for Laure and Kuna: Create an elite class of warriors connected with the alien Chroins.
They must lead a group of volunteers into the primeval forests of an unexplored planet as they search for beasts like Kuna that are strong, fast, and lethal.
But the Chroin aren’t the only threat. Not all colonists want to welcome them, and some will stop at nothing to get rid of them.
Can Laure and Kuna bring their two species together? Or will they tear each other apart?
The Burden of Endurance is the second book in the futuristic Under a New Sun science fiction series. If you like alien encounters, high-stakes action, and strong heroines, then you’ll love R. L. Blalock’s riveting saga.
The Strength of Endurance
Under A New Sun Book 3
Publication Date: November 6, 2019
The bond that made them more than human will become their death sentence.
An unlikely pair. Laure, an elite soldier trained to protect the last vestige of humanity. Kuna, an alien hybrid akin to a wild animal. Telepathically linked and confused about what they’ve become, they must hunt for answers about their origins.
However, knowledge can be more damning than ignorance. As forces work to create distrust between the aliens and colonists, an “accident” is all they need for tensions to boil over.
On the run for their lives, Laure and Kuna must find a way to create peace between their people or be hunted down and executed.
The Strength of Endurance is the third book in the futuristic Under a New Sun science fiction series. If you like alien encounters, high-stakes action, and strong heroines, then you’ll love R. L. Blalock’s riveting saga.
The Peril of Endurance
Under A New Sun Book 4
Publication Date: November 26, 2019
Humanity is not alone on its new home world.
The creators disappeared from the planet long ago, abandoning cities and deserting their protege. Commander Laure Higgins and her bonded Chroin, Kuna, are sent on a special mission to investigate the ruins and learn more about Iotova's inhabitants.
Not everything is as it appears. As mysteries unravel around them, Laure and Kuna find themselves in a frightening spiral as they try to escape the creations left behind.
Can Laure and Kuna uncover the origin of the Chroin and protect the remnants of humanity?
The Peril of Endurance is the fourth book in the futuristic Under a New Sun science fiction series. If you like alien encounters, high-stakes action, and strong heroines, then you’ll love R. L. Blalock’s riveting saga.
The Edict of Endurance
Under A New Sun Book 5
Publication Date: December 30, 2019
A battle for the Endurance will threaten all of humanity.
One by one the Chroin’s allies are dying. With colonists flocking to her cause, Corline finally seizes control of the Endurance and plunges the colony into chaos.
Laure and Kuna must find their people and protect them as Corline rampages through the sprawl. As the death toll rises, they are running out of time. Everything that humanity has worked centuries for is in peril. Including its future.
Can Laure save the colony and humanity? Or will Corline purge the Chroin from the Endurance once and for all?
R. L. Blalock's love of reading started young, but her love of zombies started later in life. In 2008, when R. L. Blalock first watched the remake of Dawn of the Dead she instantly fell in love with the genre.
Born and raised in Sacramento, California, R. L. Blalock now lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her loving husband, precocious three-year-old daughter, two dogs, and a bird.
Stay connected with R. L. Blalock at rlblalock.com and receive a free prequel short story called The World Eater when you subscribe to her newsletter!!
10$ Amazon gift card, The Fall of Endurance key chain, and mini book bookmarks
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