My guest today is Amy Braun, who I ‘met’ doing the Weekend Writing Warriors snippet blog hop. She’s got a new steampunk romance out this week so take it away, Amy!
The Blurb: There are secrets, there are betrayals, and there are sacrifices…
The Behemoth has been destroyed, and the bloodthirsty Hellions seem to have left Westraven. But Claire Abernathy’s mind is not at ease. A terrible disease plagues her sister, appearing to have been brought on the Vesper, the leader of the Hellions beyond the tear between worlds– the Breach.
To save Abby and stop the Hellions for good, Claire must find the machine her parents built before the attacks, and fix it before the monsters return. To do so, she needs the help of her crew, and must ignore the secrets and rivalries between her captain and the man she saved.
Because the Hellions are not the only dangers following Claire. Twisted humans and old enemies surface to stop her and destroy all she loves. While she is determined to endure the trials, a single betrayal could shatter the hope of a better world, and force Claire to make a choice that will cost her dearly…
“It’s said that Hellions aren’t born, but created. If the Vesper deems them worthy, he takes away their humanity. He makes them monsters. They say he’s ushering in a new world, and that Aon will pay for the damage it brought to their home. Westraven will suffer the worst, because we were the ones that found the Breach. In the Vesper’s eyes, we were the ones that invaded. He just took advantage.”
And now he’s looking for revenge, I thought.
“That still doesn’t explain why he wants Claire,” Sawyer pointed out.
“No, and I didn’t hear anything about that,” Riley rubbed his hands together slowly. “If they wanted something built, they could have chosen any engineer. But I agree that they want her specifically, and that he’s using Abby to get to her.”
I looked down and swallowed my anxiety. I didn’t want to tell either of them that if she continued to suffer, I would probably give the Vesper exactly what he wanted.
“How…What is he doing to her?”
I could feel him looking at me, but couldn’t bring myself to return the gaze. My heart felt like it was wrapped in chains and held down by lead. Every beat was strained and heavy, constricted against my ribs. My sister’s affliction didn’t seem real, couldn’t be real, but every time I closed my eyes and pictured her face, there was blood and hunger in her eyes.
“What she said,” Riley began tentatively, “it’s true. He’s found a way to get into her mind and infect her somehow.”
I couldn’t stop the gasp escaping my throat. I covered my mouth with a shaking hand. Fresh tears blurred my vision. When I found my voice again, I could only utter one word.
Riley looked down. “It’s one of his powers. He can control and manipulate the minds of anyone he meets. Hellion, human, doesn’t matter.” He paused and shook his head. “He’s not like the Hellions we know. He’s not even like Davin, who’s an anomaly in his own right since he can speak clearly and has memories of his old life.”
Sawyer tensed again, but said nothing.
“The Vesper is more,” Riley continued. “I’m not ashamed to admit that he terrifies me. The things he’s capable of doing…” He swallowed tightly. “I don’t even know how to begin describing them. I don’t want to.”
Part of me wanted to press him for the details, no matter how awful they were, but I couldn’t do that to Riley. Not when he was so tightly wound, barely holding onto his sanity. I was at a loss for words, for any kind of action, but thankfully I wasn’t the only one with questions.
“But Abby’s never met the Vesper,” Sawyer pointed out. “You said yourself that he was beyond the Breach regaining his strength.”
“He is, but that doesn’t make him weak. I doubt even the Hellions know the extent of what he can do. Not that they really care. They worship him, and everything he does only increases their loyalty.”
“But how is he doing it from the Breach?” pushed Sawyer.
“I don’t know.”
“You have to–”
“I don’t know!” Riley suddenly shouted. “I learned everything I did when I was chained in my cell, freezing and barely alive. They starved me so I couldn’t move, and then they started tearing at me,” Riley pulled back the collar of his tunic, revealing jagged, angry scars that stretched from his collarbone to his upper left pectoral. “They waited until I begged for mercy, then left me to heal, and did it all over again. Forgive me for not wanting to spy on them and think there was any hope.”
Riley roughly pulled his tunic back in place and bent over again, running his hands through the straight, pale blond hair that now reached his shoulders. Sawyer didn’t press him further.
“I’ve had the Vesper in my mind, too. When he gets inside, he’s like a disease. He festers in your skull, planting words and ideas, making you think what he wants you to think. He destroys everything you are, and you never even know it’s happening until it’s too late.”
Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.
Amy’s current work includes the full length novels Demon’s Daughter, Dark Divinity, Damnation’s Door, Crimson Sky, Storm Born, and Path of the Horseman, and the novella Needfire. She has short stories in various horror and urban fantasy anthologies such as Call From The Grave, Hotel Hell, Survivalism in The Dead Walk: Volume 2, Dismantle in The Steam Chronicles, Lost Sky in Avast, Ye Airships!, Secret Suicide in That Hoodoo, Voodoo, That You Do, Bring Back The Hound in Stomping Grounds, Charlatan Charade in Lost in the Witching Hour, and her award winning short Dark Intentions And Blood in AMOK!