Title: Harmony Run Series
Author: Sarah Elle Emm
Genre: YA Dystopian/Fantasy
Hosted by: Lady Amber's Tours
Harmony Run Series:
PRISMATIC (May 2012)
OPALESCENT (February 2013)
CHATOYANT (September 2014)
NACREOUS (Coming 2015)
Rare glimpses of birds are the only reminder of the freedoms Rain Hawkins once had. Now segregated into a mixed-race zone within the United Zones of the Authority, under tyrannical rule of President Nicks, Rain is forced to endure the bleak conditions set upon her. The possibility of a way out arises when Rain discovers an organized resistance called The Freedom Front, and learns that she, along with many other multi-racial people, has special abilities. Determined to overcome her situation, Rain sets out on a mission with the resistance that will fill her life with wonder, romance, and the undying hope for a better world.
Still enslaved in a mixed-race zone within the United Zones of the Authority, Rain Hawkins is part of a secret resistance preparing to take on the tyrannical President Nicks before plans to kill the mixed zones across UZTA are executed. When unsettling dreams and a mysterious voice begin to haunt the dark nights, Rain fears someone more powerful than she has discovered the resistance and their secret abilities. With a known Authority spy on her heels, and her boyfriend, Jabari, suddenly acting strange, Rain doesn’t know who to trust and if the voices calling to her are friend or foe. As conditions across all of the zones get worse and the stakes rise, Rain embarks on a quest for answers that will put the people she cares about most in more danger or take them one step closer to the truth and their eventual freedom.
In the wake of an interrogation led by the UZTA’s dictator, President Nicks, Rain Hawkins and her friends must deal with the consequences of their defiance as the countdown continues towards the execution of the mixed-zone citizens across the United Zones of The Authority. The Freedom Front faces new challenges as Rain’s cousin, Calista, prepares for her impending relocation to the pure zone, and Rain sets out to solve the mystery surrounding her mother’s torment while being followed by an officer of the Elizabeth Guard. As she uses her abilities to dodge The Authority and follows the strange clues from her dreams, Rain is determined to persevere, to secure the future she and Jabari have been fighting for, and to earn The Freedom Front’s ultimate goal of liberation.
Sarah Elle Emm is the author of the HARMONY RUN SERIES, a young-adult fantasy and dystopian series, released in May 2012 by Winter Goose Publishing. (PRISMATIC, May 2012, OPALESCENT, February 2013, CHATOYANT, September 2014, NACREOUS set for release August 2015) Her debut fiction novel, MARRYING MISSY, an Amazon Best Seller in marriage, was published by Bird Brain Publishing in October 2011. Sarah is a graduate of The University of Evansville, she has lived and worked in Mexico, Germany, England, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and has traveled extensively beyond. Her love of journal writing, travel, and multicultural experience have all influenced her novels. Sarah lives in Naples, Florida with her husband, Chef and Restaurateur Charles Mereday, and their two daughters. When she’s not walking the plank of her daughters’ imaginary pirate ship or snapping photos of Southwest Florida scenery, she is writing.
Join her website blog for book updates and enjoy her photo blog, Sarah’s View from the Bottom. Sarah is also on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Visit her Chef Husband’s restaurant website here. Sarah’s novels are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/1KEbnVF
Amazon UK author page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sarah-Elle-Emm/e/B0063X57K6
Prismatic Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1y7fO6i
Opalescent Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1wSnVPK
Chatoyant Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1Cb9iL1
Prismatic Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1ATJrtO
Opalescent Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1y7ggS5
Chatoyant Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1Cb9PwC
Books at Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1ATJK81
Prismatic Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/14T0caH
Opalescent Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1ATK077
Chatoyant Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1wasbZL
“We have to go now, my young ones. We can’t let them take this away from us. So be quiet, be brave, leave as you normally do, and come back next week on Wednesday instead. Oh, and most importantly, keep hope alive, young ones. Remember the trials of Nelson Mandela this week. Imagine what he overcame on his quest for freedom. Peace be with you.”
“Peace be with you, Takara,” we said in unison.
Takara hobbled up the steps, leaning on her cane until she disappeared from our view, and we stood up to follow her. Daktari, Zi, and I would all buy some canned peas or corn with the small amount of money we had to take home to our parents. Our parents didn’t know about the meetings we went to, but they didn’t see anything wrong with us helping shop at the market, especially Mom since she was afraid of everything. Also, they knew we hated to stay cooped up in the small apartment and we wouldn’t be forced to work the hours they worked until our eighteenth birthdays.
“I’m picking out the vegetable today, Rain. I refuse to eat green beans again,” said Daktari, before jogging up the steps.
Zi followed him a few seconds later, and I started to go after her, afraid to look at Jabari again, but Jabari grabbed my hand as I started up the steps. “Rain, wait a second.”
I turned around, staring into his eyes now that I was nearly level with them from my spot on the step above him. I wondered if he could hear the drumming of my heart. “Yes?” I asked, my voice unusually small.
“I have to see you again.” He said it like it was a necessity. Like I was a medicine that he had to have or he would get sick. His hand felt strong and comforting.
“Okay,” I heard my voice agree readily. “I’ll see you here next Wednesday?” It was more of a prayer than a question. I had to see him too, but I wasn’t sure why I needed to see him so bad. Standing so close, I could practically feel his breath on my face. I felt like a force beyond us was pulling me towards him. I wanted to lean all of the way into him and forget about the world.
“No, sooner. Friday. How about I run with you?”
“Okay,” I heard my suddenly small voice agree way too quickly. I really didn’t even know him, after all. And my parents certainly wouldn’t be thrilled about me running with a guy I hardly knew. I withdrew my hand from his, afraid he would feel my pulse quickening and make this even more awkward, assuming that were possible.
“I’ll be waiting a block up from your house when you leave to run. Seven-thirty sound good?”
“Yeah. But you don’t know where I live,” I commented.
He grabbed my hand again. “I wanted to make sure the Droid Dogs didn’t hurt you the other night, so I followed you home.”
I stared into his eyes, speechless. He had followed me home? He was worried about me? I tried to swallow and relieve my dry throat. “Okay, see you Friday.” I didn’t want to, but I knew it was time to go. I had to walk out of the store with Daktari and Zi in case the Droid Dogs were watching from up the block.
“Rain, try and stay out of trouble before Friday, okay?” A smile spread across his gorgeous face and he chuckled.
“I don’t exactly look for trouble, you know,” I said, a little defensively.
He squeezed my hand before I could grab it away from his. “I know. Trouble finds you. You have a lot of spirit. Takara is right about you.”
I was starting to turn away from him, but I stopped short. “What do you mean?”
“Tell you on Friday, Rainchild.” He smiled easily. And my heart sped up again.
“Goodbye, Jabari. It was nice to meet you.”
“Don’t say goodbye like we won’t meet again. The Authority wants us to be scared. It’s how they control us so easily. Look forward to tomorrows. Otherwise, they’ve already won. I’ll see you Friday.”
“Friday,” I said softly, finally prying myself away from him and up the steps. He was right. That was the same sort of thing I told Daktari all of the time, but of course, my family and I were determined to make each farewell important in case it was the last. My mom had already given up hope of a better tomorrow and if we weren’t careful, we could end up just like her. Jabari was right.
I was going to see him on Friday. My stomach flipped. I tried not to let the smile spread across my face. Zi was waiting for me at the cash register.
“Sweet peas and two baked potatoes, Rain...How’s that for success?” asked Daktari.
“You found two potatoes? Wow, we’re going to be eating good tonight, Daktari.”
“Yeah, but I need the rest of your money to get the potatoes. I only have twenty dollars. The prices have gone up again,” he said, holding out his palm to me.
I fished five dollars with Elizabeth Nicks’s face on them out of my pocket and handed them to Zachary.
“Tell your parents I said hello, kids,” he said as he handed us our groceries. Zi had gotten a can of mixed vegetables.
“We will. Thanks, Zachary,” said Daktari.
“Stay safe out there, kids,” he said as we left.
Once outside, Daktari talked the short walk home about the sweet
peas and potatoes my family was going to have for dinner. Zi eyed me suspiciously. “I didn’t see you walking around the store, Rain. Something on your mind?”
“No, nothing,” I said quickly.
Everything, I thought. Jabari needed to see me again. He grabbed my hand and held it. Twice. It felt like a gravitational force was pulling me towards him. My stomach felt like it had butterflies in it, and I became crazy around him. My heart betrayed my private thoughts with its ridiculously loud hammering when he was close. He was going to meet me the day after tomorrow to run with me. He had followed me home. He was worried about me...
“Rain? Hello? Where are you?” asked Zi.
“I said, I’ll see you in the morning, I guess. You going on a run tonight?” Zi asked. We were standing at the steps to our building. I had walked home in a complete daze.
“Oh yeah, want to run with me?”
“I’d rather let the Droid Dogs chew on my foot, thank you very much.”
I laughed, rolling my eyes at Zi. “I’m telling you, girl, it’s liberating. Running is the best way to relieve stress. It makes me feel good,” I said, smiling.
“I think the reason you feel good right now has nothing to do with running, girl.”
My face flushed red, and Zi winked at me.
“What’s she talking about?” asked Daktari. “Oh yeah, you’re excited about the potatoes we’re having for dinner, right?”
“Yes, Daktari,” I said, ignoring Zi’s laughter. “Potatoes, I’m excited about those potatoes.”
Excerpt compliments of Winter Goose Publishing
The voices of Zi, Daktari, Cole, and Marcello echoed softly down the corridor from our underground meeting place, but I was too anxious to join them. Waiting in the shadows, specks of light casting a soft glow into the corridor from the solar lights Cole had lit for TFF’s meeting, I stood beside the iron ladder, desperate for the hatch to open and Jabari to climb down. Once he was safe inside of the storm shelter with me, the bulk of my anxiety would fade away, if only for a while. When I had seen him a block behind me, moments ago out in the street, my nerves and senses had shot into overdrive. I had forced my feet to keep trekking so I could enter the hideout as usual, as we all did to protect our secret. The mere sight of him and the knowledge that his eyes were on me as I walked ahead, had caused its usual effect of craziness on my mind and body. Once inside our hideout, Marcello had jumped into his account of what he had seen outside of the market, giving my friends all of the gory details of the spiders he had seen crawling away from Darryl and the aftermath of what I had done. But I couldn’t listen. I had fled back to the tunnel entrance to wait for Jabari.
I needed to get the tightness in my chest to go away, and Jabari was the cure. The past two weeks had been challenging at home. Keeping our relationship a secret from my mother, who adamantly refused to allow me to see Jabari, meant trying not to smile constantly around the apartment as if I were a teenager in love, especially after my nightly run with him. Not that Mom would have noticed. Before, reading one of the few antique books we had managed to bring to the zone with us would have comforted her and was how she coped with life, but lately, she rarely turned a page. She sat staring blankly for hours sometimes, only moving a little when Dad got home from his late shift at the hover manufacturing plant. I wasn’t sure how, but Daktari and I needed to figure out a way to get her to snap out of her depression. She was moments away from slipping away for good. I could feel it.
The slight sound of metal scraping across metal just above me and light peeking in stirred me from my thoughts, and hope swelled in my chest as Jabari closed the entrance and climbed soundlessly down the ladder. Through the dim light I studied his light brown skin, short black hair and long limbs. I recalled the first time his dark brown eyes had studied me from across the street, and tried not to sigh at the memory. The guy was so handsome it made me self-conscious, even in the shadows. I imagined pinching myself to see if this was real. Was he really mine?
As he stepped off of the ladder and turned to me, he looked deep in thought with his brows crunched together, but his face relaxed when he saw me waiting for him. “Rain.”
My heart melted when he spoke my name, the relief and longing clear in his tone, and took two steps towards me, picking me up effortlessly, his super strength one of his abilities. He really was mine.
“Finally,” I murmured into his neck, wrapping my arms around him. My feet dangled off the ground since he was over six-foot-three. He was hugging me tighter than usual, but I didn’t mind. The uneasiness faded away. In his arms, the world felt good again. He slowly released his hold on me and lowered my feet to the floor.
I felt his breath on the tip of my nose as he leaned down to me. “It’s only been eighteen hours since we ran last night, but it felt like an eternity.”
“Tell me about it,” I whispered back, my arms resting comfortably around his waist now.
“My girlfriend, the brown recluse whisperer. That was…”
“Creepy?” I volunteered.
“I was going to say fierce. You are fierce, Rain.”
“We had better get in there. I’m sure they are waiting on us…” I said, shy all of a sudden from his compliment.
“May I kiss you, Rain?”
The shyness was gone in an instant. Funny how he had such an effect on me. “Is this the Indy Mixed Zone?”
He chuckled before closing the two inches between us and brushing his lips to mine. My mind fell into a tailspin, and I wondered if I was really spinning. The chaotic worries I had been obsessing about in my mind, spun away, one by one, with the room around me. Mom, Daktari, Maha, Darryl, our death sentence… And then it was just me and Jabari, the gentle strength of his mouth dissolving the dark world of my existence.
Someone coughed at the other end of the corridor. “Hola, people…It’s not like we don’t have important things to do.”
Jabari’s lips broke away from mine, and we turned our heads towards Marcello. He swept one hand through his cheek-length black hair off of his face and continued ranting. “It’s just a revolution. You know, six teenagers save the world before our execution in seven months? You guys just take your time and kiss. No big deal. Romance rules. Revolutions drool . . . Vive el Amor!” His hands shot up in a V-shape at his final proclamation, using the native tongue of his Mexican father, and dropped again as he turned away to enter our storm shelter meeting space.
Even in his rant he appeared handsome. He was multi-racial like us and not quite as tall as Jabari, but still over six feet and was naturally muscular. But I would sooner turn myself into Metro Prison for conspiracy than admit that to Marcello, our resident flirt and ladies man.
Jabari took my hand firmly in his, and through the shadows I could see his mouth curving into a perfect grin. “Shall we?”
I couldn’t help but smile back. “After you, leader of the revolution.”
Excerpt compliments of Winter Goose Publishing
Droid Dogs growled throughout the crowd, “Everyone back home!” one ordered.
Daktari and Jabari pulled Takara to her feet, handing her the wooden cane she used for walking. Takara tapped the cane lightly on the street. “Think I’ll keep it. Might come in handy someday if I need to defend myself.” She winked at me as I rose to my feet.
I stared dumbstruck at her, searching for words. She had almost died, and now she was joking around, acting like everything was normal. Takara leaned closer. “Peace be with you, children. Now go. The droids are coming…”
“Meet you at home, Rain,” Daktari kissed the top of my head and took off, guiding Zi beside him.
One by one, The Freedom Front dispersed, but I stood frozen, taking in the frenzied scene. In the aftermath of our ruler’s first in-person visit to our zone in over four years, people were panicking, crying, and running in all directions. The madness began to blur around me as my thoughts took a turbulent turn of their own. Where did the great horned owl come from? Did Nata know that her plan to kill Takara hadn’t worked out? Would she come back if she knew? And how in the world did we stand a chance against her when she had just demonstrated how easily she controls people? I couldn’t resist her powers.
A strong hand clutched mine, yanking me into the maze of people. My feet followed in autopilot, but my mind raced on.
Jabari’s voice sounded irritated, lugging me from my worries. “What were you thinking? I can’t believe you ran to the fountain, Rain. She could have killed you.”
As he guided me through the crowd, I realized for the first time how terrified he must have been when I took off to help Takara. Sadness lingered in his brown eyes. We had been talking about our future plans together when I had taken off, leaving him in the dust. Some soul mate I was turning out to be. I had chosen to help Takara over playing it safe. Basically, I had chosen to help her and by doing so, had chosen her over Jabari, Daktari, and my family for that matter. What would they all be going through right now if I hadn’t made it out alive? “I’m sorry. I freaked out.”
“How am I supposed to keep you safe? Why do you have to be the hero all the time? You can’t save everyone, Rain.”
Irritation rushed through me at his last statement. Wasn’t that the point? To try to save everyone? Especially the people who couldn’t stand up for themselves? “It was Takara. I’m sorry if you don’t understand, Jabari. And I know it was rash, but we’ve got bigger problems. Nata controlled me and Takara. She’s powerful. How are we supposed to beat her? And then there’s her,” I finished, gesturing across the street.
Jabari’s gaze settled on Aleela, the spy. She wasn’t much taller than Zi, scrawny like the rest of us, and her wavy black hair fell to her shoulders. Her eyes were huge, filled with horror, as she hurried past us in the opposite direction. Jabari said she had changed, but she had just told Nata that Takara was the one who probably freed her prisoner.
Jabari halted mid-stride, grabbing my shoulder so I would face him. His expression softened. “I promise, she won’t be a problem for us anymore. She caved under Nata’s power and gave Takara’s name up, but she’s on our side now, Rain. I’m sure of it. And I’m sorry if I sound upset.” His eyes clouded with emotions. “I was scared. I am scared. I can’t lose you.” He brushed a lock of my curls from my face and rested his hand on my neck. My pulse sped up in its usual manner from his touch. “I know I can’t control you, but please, be more careful, will you?”
Emotions rolled through me as he gazed into my eyes. Forgiving Jabari for the weeks of agony he put me through while I thought he was falling for Aleela hadn’t been easy, but I’d done it. But the idea of trusting Aleela after her role in Takara’s interrogation made my stomach burn. I had just seen Nata in action, so I knew he was right about Aleela not having a choice. But still. Was I the only one who was angry with her? And he was asking me to trust her? To just let it go? And he wanted me to be more careful. But if Aleela hadn’t betrayed us, I never would have had to risk my life in the first place. As I struggled to say what Jabari wanted to hear, I noticed an Elizabeth Guard staring at us and heading in our direction. Human officers were few and far between in our zone, and it was rare to see one outside of Metro Prison or their headquarters at the Town Hall. Of course, he was likely hanging around the entire time Nata had been in our zone. Uneasiness filled me anew…Any interest a human guard had in me and Jabari was not good. We needed to disappear and fast.
“I promise to be more careful. Don’t look now, but there is a guard watching us,” I blurted.
Jabari shot a look over his shoulder.
“Hey, I said not to look,” I scolded.
Jabari clutched my hand, starting to jog again. “I’m not taking any chances with you and your safety anymore. And he is watching us, you’re right. Let’s lose him on the next corner. If he shows up again, we’ll know we’ve got problems. Maybe he’s just trying to clear the streets and restore order. But if he is a problem, he’s our problem, you understand? We’re in this together, Rain.”
“Okay,” I mumbled.
As we jogged, the tension dissolved a little, and Jabari looked down at me. “We’re going to survive this, soul mate. I promise.” He smiled at me encouragingly, and I wanted to pretend he had made me feel reassured.
“I hope you’re right, Jabari…”
But even as we put more distance between us and our pursuer, doubts filled my head. Nata had left our zone without the traitor she sought in custody. She had scared the people here, sure. But would she be back to continue the interrogation? Did this guard have something to do with it? Or was he following us for another reason completely? And was he following Jabari and me? Jabari alone? Or just me?
Excerpt compliments of Winter Goose Publishing