Author: Heather Letto
Series: Ascension #2
Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult
Release Date: June 8, 2015Summary:
After a narrow escape from the city of Impervious, Fran’s heart aches for the ones she left behind. Will her brother ever connect the dots? And, what about Pete? Could he, along with the remaining Rebels, have survived the Council’s violent oppression?
As Fran ponders the fate of her friends, an even more disturbing revelation drops into her world—the knowledge that she, along with anyone who had lived underground remains implanted with the sinister presence of the Council. A fate rendering her powerless to save.
Yet one with pure blood, untouched by the Council’s defiling, lives among them. Could he be the new lifeline of hope? Is salvation of the city worth risking the life of this one-and-only?
Suddenly, another bellow filled the air, causing tiny bumps to rise on Ret’s forearms. He dumped the bowl and swiped an extra rock from the dirt, tossed it into his pouch and took off in the direction of Sophie’s wails.
As he raced along the river’s edge, Sophie launched another battle cry. If she was this upset, her cubs must be in danger. Ret broke into a full run, loading his sling as he followed the sound.
But when he reached the clearing, the cubs appeared safe, wrestling and rolling in the meadow as usual. Sophie, on the other hand, stood on her hind legs, knee deep in the river, with the rapids splashing up high on her furry form. Her cry of distress continued and Ret wondered if she’d been injured.
He slowed to a walk as he approached, clucking his tongue in a soothing manner. What had always worked in the past, however, didn’t seem to faze the mother bear. Once near enough, Ret assessed her from head to toe. No obvious wounds. She stood upright and strong, and bellowed again, filling the air with thick vibrations.
Ret’s gaze whipped along the raging river and a swatch of color caught his eye. Had someone fallen into the rapids? Ret knew the villagers opted not to enter the river this time of year claiming his sport of rapid riding to be a bit extreme. Yet, his gut—and Sophie—told him something wasn’t right.
He scanned the shoreline with Sophie’s desperate cries as a backdrop. On a nearby river rock, Ret saw a torn cloth clinging to the rock’s edge. His eyes darted from one rock to another while searching the foamy islands.
He saw her hand first. Laying casually on top of a boulder as if she’d simply stopped for a rest while swimming. Her body, wedged between the boulder and mass of sharp stones, lifted and dipped as the water passed over and under her form.
Like the rushing of the water before him, adrenaline cut through Ret’s veins. He thrust himself, waist deep, into the freezing water. Before he could even wonder what had brought Wolf into these dangerous rapids, the current yanked at his body. He carved a trail to the high boulder, the roar of the river drowning out Sophie’s wails.
The torrent labored to hamper his progress, but Ret pushed back. Would the ferocious waters dislodge Wolf, sending her downriver before he could reach her? His mind reeled with calculations—percentage of submerged mass in relation to the speed of the current—as if he could determine the number of remaining moments before she launched. She bobbed on the water’s surface, and Ret swallowed back lumpy fear. He reached out and lunged, catching her around the waist. Relief lasted a short moment, as Ret rolled her over to face the sky.
Her skin was ashen grey.
Ret looked back at the shore. Could he maneuver her back in time? He couldn’t risk losing a precious second. Instead, he hefted her limp body fully onto the boulder that had served as her temporary refuge. After crawling to her side, he placed a finger on her carotid artery, and a wave of relief exploded through him. He felt a feathery pulse—but she wasn’t breathing.
With a supportive hand beneath her skull, he pulled down on her chin, rolled her head back, and opened her mouth. Without hesitation, he performed as he had been taught. He covered her lips with his own, pinched her nose and sent a strong breath into her lungs. He watched her chest. No movement. He repeated the process.
No rise. No fall. He pinched off her nose, covered her mouth with his own and released another breath before sitting back on his heels.
“Come on, Rebel. Breathe!”
“Hey Fran! Good to see you again!”
“Hi.” Fran smiles.
“Last time we spoke, you were kind of in a strange season in life.
“Mm hm.” Fran runs her fingers through a spring of curls. “I believe that was back when I was a Rebel.”
“Right. Rebel.” I cock a brow. “So no more Rebel-Fran?”
Fran snorts. “Well, I suppose I’ll always be just a bit rebellious. But, no. Not an official Rebel.”
I nod in agreement. “And how do you like living outdoors?”
“In the Open Air?” She corrects me. “Love it. It’s great. I just wish everyone else could be there with me.”
I crack a coy smile. “Like Pete, maybe?”
Fran lets out a long sigh and I’m unsure if I’ve crossed our line of friendship. “Pete,” she whispers.
“I’m sorry,” I quickly respond. “That’s a painful subject. How about if we talk about your mom instead?”
Fran throws her head back and releases a hearty guffaw. “Mom.” She shakes her head. “I really love Mom.” She looks at me and I see a hint of the old Fran sparkle from her eye.
“She just, such a….”
“Mom?” I add.
“Exactly.” Fran agrees. “And, really. The best Mom ever, by the way.”
“I know.” I agree. “I have one of those too.”
Tell us about your journey so far in this series.
Well, let’s see. Like many authors, this series began when a “what if…?” idea sparked in my head, followed immediately by fast finger action (on the keyboard). After that, came the season of endless hair-pulling with a lengthy detour (changing of publishers and discernment of direction.) Finally, after rounding up of the troops (aka, perfect editors and amazing cover designer), I marched forward. Impervious re-released in the spring and now *taking large breath and chest puffing with pride* I can finally move into the “guts” of the story that began with IMPERVIOUS.
Guts of the story? How so?
Let’s just say, IMPERVIOUS was the loading of the weapon… IMPLANTED is the pulling of the trigger. (The final book will be the shot heard ‘round the world.)
Ah-ha! So this is a trilogy!
Yes. But I let’s not get ahead of the curve. I’m going to keep the final installment a bit of a mystery for you. What I can say about IMPLANTED is that it will answer some questions that lingered with the reader after IMPERVIOUS… yet it might stir up a few more.
Wow! Can’t wait… So, tell us a little more about the author. We’ve also head that you are a gypsy-nerd. What does that mean, exactly?
LOL! It means my life is in a constant state of flux! My husband and I have dedicated this season of our lives to meandering about the U.S. He’s a software nerd. I’m a book nerd. And for the past ten months, we’ve been traveling about the contiguous United States in a one-ton dually (um, nerd-speak for big pick-up truck) towing a very bougie trailer… glamping (aka glamour camping). We spent most of the winter checking out the corners and crevices of sunny Florida and right now, as we speak, we’re hunkered down in Hungry Horse, Montana! (Glacier Park). I guess, much like my character, Fran, you could say I like to think of myself “off the grid.” (However, I try to maintain good WIFI and cable TV… and, I’m Accountable.)
Lastly, two quick personals…
Do you work in your jammies?
LOL! Well, typically it’s more like shorts and a tank. But, every now and then, I suppose I’ve been known to keep the jammies on for the better part of the morning.
Favorite munchies while you work?
Blueberries! Fresh, plump and juicy! (and coffee… always coffee at my right hand.)
I’m a book-writing, selfie-taking, latte-drinking, social media gal. I’m living a good life on the road as a full-fledged Bedouin (Well, except, my tent is actually a fully-equipped RV.) Me and my partner-in-crime (Benj) tend to hunker down wherever the skies are clear and the temps stay in the 70’s. We call ourselves Gypsy Nerds because we aimlessly wander the U.S. with glasses perched upon our noses and faces jammed into computer screens (for the first half the day... The second half of the day is typically devoted to playing because we’re also somewhat immature.)
Like most authors, the characters I create are my extended family. And like most readers, when the story ends, I get a little sad. In real life, I have two handsome, hardworking, grown-up boys who know how to make their Mama proud! *Waves to Joey and Mike!*
The Ascension Series is my debut into the world of YA fiction.
I’m living what I love and loving what I live!