Series: The Bionics Series, Book 4
Author: Alicia Michaels
Published: January 20, 2014
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Word Count: 36,000
Genre: NA Dystopian
Content Warning: Minor violence, coarse language, and mild sexual content
Recommended Age: 16+
Synopsis: Most nineteen-year-old girls are thinking about college, stretching the wings of newfound adulthood, and boys. Well, I’ll probably go to college and all my dreams of the future are gone. I’ve been adult for much longer than I should have been and my girlhood was stolen the minute the North Koreans dropped their nukes over the United States. As for boys … well, that’s pretty much out of the question now, too. My love life is too messy to even talk about.
I have nothing.
Except, maybe, my cause, my mission, The Resistance. It is the hope I have to cling to, I am counting on it to pave the way to my future. As things heat up and the terrorist sect known as The Rejects make themselves known opponents of society in this war, the choice to be on the side of good is harder than ever. My friends are broken; Olivia is a shell of her former self and Jenica is barely hanging on. Dax and Gage … well, we’re not talking about my love life, remember?
The Rejects, the government, President Drummond; they are pressing in on us from all sides and the weight tremendous. Still, when given the choice to crumble or stand, I’d rather stand. Times are dark, but we are here, a rebellion, a whisper in the dark, a spark that lights the flames of change.
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Excerpt #1 for Spark by Alicia Michaels:
The morning air is crisp and cool, the grass springy and damp beneath my feet. Droplets of water are refreshing against my bare calves as I run. My high ponytail swishes side to side, tickling the back of my neck. My chest rises and falls as I concentrate on breathing, filling my lungs with the cleansing autumn morning air. Dog lopes along beside me at a steady trot, his paws padding softly on the ground.
I have spent every morning of the last six weeks running from one end of Resistance Headquarters to the other. It spans exactly four miles. I appreciate watching the changing of the seasons each day, even if it is just a computer program. It’s nice to feel—in some ways—like we are still part of the world. When I’m on my morning run, just Dog and me, I can pretend that nothing has changed. I can almost imagine my Atlanta neighborhood with a park very similar to the one I’m running in, ringed in pine trees. I can imagine the crunching of dry pine needles beneath my feet, and smell their fragrance in my nostrils. There is no Resistance, no Restoration, and no evil president. The M.P.s have no cause to suspect a young girl out on a run with a dog, and they don’t spare her a second glance.
There is no Dax, confusing me with feelings of friendship intermixed with lust, longing, and love. There is no Jenica, staring distantly with dead eyes, quietly mourning the loss of her baby, aborted out of necessity because of the cruel nature of our society. There is no Olivia, whose night terrors now rival mine, and whose rapidly thinning frame reminds me every day of how we failed her. There is no Gage…
Actually, even in reality, there is no Gage because he’s gone. He’s gone because I cast the deciding vote. Make no mistake—I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Reality is crueler than my fantasy. In reality, the Restoration is very much alive and in counterpoint, so is the Resistance. The M.P.s will never see me as just a girl. They fear me, what I am, and what I have the potential to become. In reality, Dax is here daily, a continuous reminder of my flaws and inability to love anyone completely, the way they deserve. In the real world, Olivia and Jenica are shells of their former selves. The former has sunk into herself and retreated from the world; the other lashes out at it with all the venom and malice she possesses.
No matter how much I want to try to imagine an alternate reality where things happened differently, I am always snatched back to the present. No matter how fast or hard I run, I cannot outrun Gage. His absence is more tortuous than his presence, when I’d thought it would be the other way around. I thought that by sending him away, I would finally be able to put my turbulent feelings behind me. Foolishly, I assumed that without having to look into those gorgeous blue eyes of his, I would no longer be a slave to my emotions when it comes to him. By cutting him out of my life, I could stop feeling so damned much. I liked it better when I was numb, when nothing fazed me because I’d built my walls and fortified myself against it all.
But then Dax kissed me and told me he loved me, and Gage made me feel like a normal person again. Together, they made me forget. But I don’t intend to forget again. I want to remember the pain that caused me to go numb, why I avoid these kinds of complications, and why I’m better off alone. At least, in my love life… I will always remember.
About the Author:
Ever since she first read books like Chronicles of Narnia or Goosebumps, Alicia has been a lover of mind-bending fiction. Wherever imagination takes her, she is more than happy to call that place her home. The mother of two and wife to an Army sergeant loves chocolate, coffee, and of course good books. When not writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, shopping for shoes and fabulous jewelry, or spending time with her loving family.
Crimson Tree Publishing Links:
(An imprint of Clean Teen Publishing)
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