Welcome to the blog tour for Edge of Truth by Natasha Hanova presented by Xpresso Book Tours!
Today I have a brilliant excerpt as well as a tour-wide giveaway to share with you. Enjoy!
“Rena,” Nevan whispered. “Can’t get to the ladder without you. Otherwise, I’d grab your stubborn butt and haul you up there myself.”
“We should hide under something, not on top, out in the open.”
He let out a quick breath. “Don’t you feel the heat coming off this building? It’ll disguise our body signatures. Trust me.”
Those two words carried so much weight. Now wasn’t the time to debate options. She placed her palm on his shoulder and a foot in his hand.
He straightened, his other hand clasped around her ankle. “Now, step on my shoulders and reach up to the ladder.”
Breathing through an open mouth, she followed his directions, stretching as high as she could. “I can’t reach. Not even close.”
“We don’t have much time.”
The red beam skittered across the sidewalk and grass a few yards away, edging ever closer to the building. Grotesque images of human experimentation flashed through her mind.
“Lil’ Mama, d’you hear me? Step on my hands. I’ll boost you up.”
His fingers crackled under her weight; the unpleasant sensation made her cringe. She almost lost her balance. His arms trembled as he grunted and boosted her straight up. She glided her hand along the control house wall for support. The concrete felt warm and the rough texture scraped her palms. When she reached the bottom rung, she put all her weight into pulling it down. The metal screeched in protest as the ladder released. The base of it hit the ground with a loud thump. Rena glanced over her shoulder in time to see a set of Syns round the building.
“Climb!” The urgency in his voice spiked her with adrenaline, propelling her to shift her full weight to the ladder.
Below her, Nevan’s foot hit the bottom rung, but it was too late.
“Halt!” said one of the Syns.
Rena scurried down the ladder between Nevan’s arms and ducked under them to jump off. “Hide around the building,” she whispered to him.
She didn’t wait to see if he complied. With her head tilted down to hide her face and her ID ring behind her back, she walked toward the machines. She wanted to tackle them, but had to maintain the appearance of someone experiencing remorse or else they might stun her. She followed the pound of their footsteps through the ground and allowed the fear of getting caught to roil through her. Her soles tingled for a moment, then her calves clenched so hard, she stumbled and fell. The pain moved into her legs and across her back as she hunched on the ground. She whimpered, but refused to release her power.
The Syns stopped in front of her.
Rena risked rolling forward on the other side of them and forced them to turn their back to the control house. Still crouched, she spun to face them.
“Citizen, please stand and identify yourself.”
“Identify this!” Rena reached out, one hand on each Syn, and imagined every ounce of her fear jolting from her hands and into them. She envisioned billions of tiny tremors ripping apart their internal circuitry. After a loud pop, sparks rained down on her and she jumped to her feet. The backpack caused her to lose her balance and she stumbled. The Syns twitched as tendrils of smoke curled from their nostrils. Rena covered her nose against the stench of burning plastic.
“Rena,” Nevan said. “We gotta hide.”
She peered at him between the Syns. Somehow, he’d snuck close enough for her to see the shock on his face. She slipped between the machines. “We should run.”
He grabbed her hand and pulled her toward the white building, once again. “Nowhere else to go. No time to argue.”
When they reached the control house, she climbed the ladder. Her limbs felt weak from exertion. Every thud of Nevan’s feet against the rungs thundered through the metal as he followed. The ladder folded up after he reached the fire escape landing. They dashed up three, four stairs at a time.
At the top flat, Nevan covered Rena’s mouth. He pinned her against the building with his body while pointing down through the vertical slats of the steel railing at another set of Syns below. She gasped. Thankfully, his hand muffled the sound. The Syns approached the ones Rena had short-circuited. Her breaths came in shallow pants. What if they figured out what had happened?
Seven feet stood between them and the rooftop. No ladder in sight and her powers depleted. Moisture blurred Rena’s vision. Nevan put one finger to his lips in a silent “shh” as he removed the other hand from her mouth. He pointed up to the roof then tapped his shoulders. She nodded, not arguing this time.
He turned around, and with his feet shoulder-width apart twisted, as if to see her face. In quick succession, he tapped his right thigh, left thigh, right shoulder, left shoulder. She nodded and he placed his hands on his knees to brace himself, ready for her to climb up his back. She glanced at the new Syns. With their back to the control house, they opened the skulls of the fried ones. She knew they planned to run some sort of diagnostics and prayed there was nothing left for them to trace.
With her hands on Nevan’s shoulders, Rena stepped onto his right thigh and then left. Sweat dampened the back of her shirt and slicked her palms. She wiped them on her pants before she grabbed Nevan’s lifted hands for balance and stepped onto his shoulders. He let out a quiet breath as he pushed to a standing position and pressed her shins against the back of his head. From the vantage point, Rena saw another set of Syns approach. How long until they scanned the control house?
Nevan angled toward the building. She hooked her hand over the ledge and hauled herself up, using his hands for extra support. The concrete scraped her chest and stomach as she crawled over the top and rolled onto the roof. In a split second, she was on her feet and reaching for him.
He was too far away....
Edge of Truth
Long, dull, monotonous lives. It’s not a bad plan for someone with a hidden, emotion-based ability to trigger earthquakes. In a world pitted against her, sixteen-year-old Rena Moon strives for a life beyond working herself to death at the factory. Seeing an alternative, she risks selling relics from the forbidden lands at Market. It becomes the worst decision she ever made. Someone kidnaps her best friend in exchange for the one thing that would end her oppression.
Driven by loyalty, Rena and seventeen-year-old Nevan Jelani, soulful composer, green thumb extraordinaire, and the secret love of her life, plot to rescue her friend and reclaim her salvage. Still, the thought lingers whether Nevan is a true hero or another thief waiting for his chance at her loot. Events spin wildly, deepening Rena’s suspicions and pushing her limit of control. With more than her chance for freedom at stake, she must decide if she’s willing to kill to protect what’s precious to her. For once, the Overlord isn’t holding all the power, but can Rena live with being reduced to what she’s trying so hard to escape?
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