(The Shadow Ravens #2)
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: October 13th 2015
Genres: Futuristic, Romance, Young Adult
The son of two senators, Altair Orpheus leads a life of privilege that provides the perfect cover for his side job: working with the rebel Shadow Ravens to undermine the ruling Seligo government. Everything is running like clockwork until he crosses paths with Quanta. As he watches her deftly maneuver through life in a perverse prison, his plastic heart melts. A jailbreak would be suicide, but Tair is willing to sacrifice everything to give her a chance at happiness.
Now Quanta senses a terrifying new future brewing. She and Tair are bound together, but every image of them kissing, snuggling, and acting knee-weakeningly happy is balanced by a much darker possibility. They’ll be picture perfect together, but only until time rips them apart. How can she follow her heart when she’s seen how their love plays out?
Following the plan should’ve been harder, but as I drew a mural of elvish Tair on my bedroom wall, conjuring a smile was cake. Stopping the smile?
That was harder.
After a few last strokes of charcoal to finish off his long elf hair, I stepped back to admire my work. I didn’t usually do portraits, but this was probably my best one ever, thanks to the subject. He was pretty, but no one had forced me to memorize his face down to the length of his eyelashes.
I kept myself from scowling. It was just a drawing and this was still just an act for Darren and the cameras. I wanted him to know I was thinking about Tair so he’d let us spend more time together, but that was where I had to stop it.
Rubbing the heel of my hand back and forth, I smudged Tair’s perfect face into a blur.
Too bad erasing the picture didn’t get him out of my head. Not with all the timeghosts paging in and out everywhere I looked.
“Quanta…” My name falls breathy off Tair’s lips as he hugs me close; he pushes me gently on a swing and I giggle as he laughs; my legs wrap his torso as our lips connect…
I fell back onto my bed. The expressions were killing me more than the actions.
The way my fingers knotted in his shirt. The reverence when he held my head between his hands to kiss my forehead.
It wasn’t some passing crush. We were happy together.
And even less believably?
We were outside the lab.
If I saw it in the potential future, there was no point questioning whether it was possible. It was still ultra fuzzy unlikely, but it could happen.
Getting out had never been a real option before. I always died or got knocked out in the futures where I tried to escape.
I didn’t dare peek at the paths that could lead to freedom. Letting myself watch the happy futures dance around was bad enough.
It made hope burn in my chest. Could we really…?
Nope. Don’t go there.
That road ended in disappointment and worse, because whatever I wanted, I couldn’t put something as pointless as my own happiness above other people’s lives.
I was tempted. Super tempted. I wasn’t such a good person that I didn’t think about screwing them all over. Just to taste a piece of happy. Just once. Even if I knew in my heart it wouldn’t last.
But I held too many lives in my palms.
All the surviving Reds and a few who weren’t born yet. The Shadow Ravens who were working to take down Nagi and his citadels.
I knew their names and faces. Cipher. Devan. Cleo. Even Eva.
I’d been living this long to keep them safe, and if I was going to screw them over, I should’ve done it a long time ago. Now I couldn’t. They were the only people I had and I wanted them to have what I never would.
Real lives. Actual happiness.
The good stuff.
I’d been totally fine with the status quo until Altair Orpheus waltzed into my life and rewrote the future. It wasn’t the first time I’d had a wrench thrown in my plans, but it was definitely the biggest twist I’d ever missed.
Lola Dodge is a compulsive traveler, baker, and procrastinator. She earned her BA in English from Stonehill College and MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University--and hasn't stopped moving since. When she's not on the road, Lola spends her time indoors where the sunlight can't melt her, writing or bingeing on anime and cherry soda. She can be summoned in a ritual involving curry, Hello Kitty idols, and a solid chocolate pentagram.