by Hilary Thompson
Series: Starbright #2
Series: Starbright #2
Release date: October 2014
SYNOPSIS VIA GOODREADS:
Balance Broken is the second in the Starbright series. In the first book, Justice Buried, Astrea fights to remain independent in a world which demands she submit to an ancient prophecy. In Balance Broken, she learns that independence means little when the world is depending on her.
The world cries for Order, but she’s igniting a revolution.
One hundred years before, the Great Sickness reduced the world to three cities. Now, Asphodel no longer lingers underground, and the Starbright Maiden of Justice has returned.
Everyone has faith in Astrea’s ability to save the world - but only she knows the dark truth about her powers.
Astrea teams with Stian, Lexan, and Zarea to enlist the help of Lord Hadeon of Tartarus. They hope Hadeon will aid in attacking Asphodel’s First Leader Keirna, but the Destroyer usually takes lives, not sides.
As Astrea discovers life outside of Asphodel, she begins to wonder whether the remaining world is too broken to save - especially since the price of freedom just might be her own life.
~ EXCERPT ~
The burn of rage in my chest starts to spread, searching for an outlet. My palms are no longer sweaty but warm, and then hot. Lexan sucks in a breath as the heat grows, but he just squeezes my hands tighter, trapping the power in our fingers. A bit of wind swirls around us, lifting the heat from our palms, and I grin at this feeling of subtle power, turning my cheeks up toward the sun’s orange light, trapping it behind my closed eyelids.
A sudden crackle behind me breaks my focus and I twist to see a figure step from behind a tree.
“What are you doing with him?” Stian asks in a dangerous voice.
“It…nothing! How…what did you see?” I stammer. I rip my hands from Lexan’s and step toward Stian, guilt and dread coursing through me.
He glares at Lexan, then stalks back into the trees without another word. My stomach is churning with nerves. I thought we’d been so careful: finding an isolated spot to practice our silly games, telling Stian we were going to train, taking our bows and knives.
“Do you think he suspects anything?” I whisper to Lexan, remembering how Stian had already gone through the passage when the power of Justice finally slipped into my hands. He really shouldn’t know any of this. Could he have felt the heat in the air?
Lexan looks down at me, his eyes thoughtful. “I believe he thinks we were kissing.”
“What?”” My stomach drops into nothingness as I recreate the scene in my mind, from Stian’s viewpoint: joined hands, smiles, my upturned face and closed eyes. A hot flush creeps into my cheeks.
“Because I’m pretty sure I was thinking about it,” he adds with a slow smile, catching my elbow as I try to turn after Stian. His fingers slide down to my wrist.
“Just because you think something at me doesn’t mean I have to let it in,” I answer, jerking my hand from his. I’ve glimpsed a few of Lexan’s ideas throughout our training this morning, and an uncontrollable ferocity washes over me.
“I trust you to be a friend, Lexan – not try to sabotage my shot at happiness!” I yell, yanking away again as he tries to grip my fingers.
“Trea, just wait a minute! I’m sorry – I’ll talk to him.”
“Just stay out of it! Out of everything!” I stumble backwards as a fierce wind pulls my curls across my face. I throw my hands up to block the swirl of dust and leaves when suddenly a burst of flame shoots into the air, buoyed upwards by the cool gust.
It burns out as quickly as it appeared, leaving me gaping up at the trees. Sunlight streams in a thick shaft through a neat, new hole in the canopy, and wisps of smoke swirl lazily around us.
“About time,” Lexan smiles halfway, his hands propped on his narrow hips. Suddenly he looks just like his brother Aitan, standing triumphantly in the classroom after tricking me to get what he wanted. Everything is too clear, and I feel ill.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hilary Thompson was born to parents who made a habit of taking roads less traveled. But she was also a first child, and an independent, willful child, so she has made a habit of taking a few roads on her own.
After trying on hats made for artists, architects, restaurant and retail workers, landscape designers, legal secretaries, and professional students, she retreated back to her first loves of education and writing.
Hilary now teaches high school full time, writes whenever and wherever she can, and reads as much as her eyes can handle. She also tries not to spoil her own independent, willful children or neglect her wonderful soul-mate of a husband too much. She tends to ignore laundry baskets and dirty dishes.
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