AUTHOR – D.D. Chant GENRE – Dystopian Adventure
COVER ARTIST – D.D. Chant
Senator Burton and his son Ben arrive in the Tula strongholds for peace talks, but find that a treaty between the two nations has a price. Confronted by a world of sedate tranquility the two men are appalled to learn that the Tula Council rules with an iron rod of fear and repression. The Council removes anyone who dares to stand in the way of their reforms and Ben uncovers a secret that puts his life in danger.
Astra has been pressured into working for the very Council that threatens to kill her loved ones. No stranger to loss, the precariously balanced world she has constructed begins to fracture when Ben starts asking difficult questions about her past. As her deepest secrets are uncovered, Astra finds there are secrets in her childhood that even she is unaware of.
Kai is Apprentice Headman to the Una people. Unaccountably called upon to sacrifice his honour in the name of peace, Kai’s hatred toward this injustice proves all consuming. If the time comes, will he be able to forgive the woman that betrayed him?
When these three worlds collide ugly truths come to light on every side. Is there any way to make peace, or will the world end in discord.
“I thought you looked thirsty, Mr. Burton.”
Ben turned to find Councillor Sendel holding out a champagne flute toward him and accepted it with a light hearted smile.
“How has Astra been treating you?” asked Councillor Sendel conversationally.
“With the length of her arm between us,” grimaced Ben.
Councillor Sendel chuckled softly.
“I’m not surprised. I hear she took you to the library?”
Ben turned to find Sendel smiling softly at him over his glass. Ben felt a prickle of unease work its way over his skin.
How did Councillor Sendel know what he and Astra had done during the day?
Ben tried to shake off his discomfort. After all it had been no secret that he and Astra were to explore the city together.
“I guess she doesn’t like me much.” He watched Sendel take another sip of champagne. “By the way, congratulations: three terms is very impressive.”
Councillor Sendel appeared to have trouble swallowing and Ben suddenly felt his sharp gaze upon him.
“Thank you,” he bowed, “but compared to Corbani’s five terms it is nothing to boast of.”
“I hear he had no opposition for the last three terms.”
Councillor Sender’s smile had a chilling undertone.
“Yes, he was only opposed during his two opening terms.” He paused significantly. “He won the first election of course.”
Ben knew what was expected of him and turned to Councillor Sendel with the obvious question.
“What about the second?”
Councillor Sendel smiled again, pleased to see that Ben knew how the game was played.
“It was a great tragedy; Meron Va Dic Padis was the opposition that year but before the polls could take place he and his whole family died in a tragic accident.” Sendel’s eyes met Ben’s. “Of course, Corbani hasn’t been opposed since.”
Ben understood completely and had to suppress a shiver. He had guessed that Councillor Ladron was ruthless but having it confirmed made him feel sick.
“I dare say that Councillor Ladron fills his role so well that no one sees the need for change,” replied Ben evenly.
“Oh, Corbani is very good at keeping… things… in their proper place,” agreed Councillor Sendel. “A man would have to have friends in high places if he wished to oppose him.”
Ben met Sendel’s gaze unflinchingly.
“Like Senators and their sons for instance?”
“You think in such small terms, Mr. Burton: any highly placed friends would do.” He placed his hand on his heart and inclined his head but before he left he smiled again.
“I hope you enjoyed Jayn’s coffee, Mr. Burton.”
Ben clutched his champagne flute so tightly that the stem broke in his hand and several shards pierced his palm.
It seemed that Councillor Ladron was not the only one of the councillors with an agenda. Councillor Sendel appeared to covet Corbani Va Dic Ladron’s position and was hoping that the Free Nation would help him attain his ends.
Ben was fully aware that he had just been threatened. If there was one thing a Burton didn’t react well to it was threats and he’d been in the receiving end of too many tonight.
The newcomer held out a napkin toward Ben.
“Your hand, it’s bleeding.”
Ben made no move to take the napkin from her, so after a small pause she took his hand between her own and, removing the flute from his grasp, studied his palm carefully.
“I don’t think there is any glass in the wound,” she remarked, inspecting his hand closely before wrapping the napkin around his palm and tying the ends in a knot. “You should have it seen to, though.”
Ben watched her hands as they folded the bandage neatly.
“Thank you, Leda.”
For a moment she stilled and when Ben looked up it was to find her regarding him pensively.
“You have a good memory,” she remarked.
“Or maybe you’re just hard to forget,” replied Ben.
Leda raised an eyebrow, her expression unimpressed.
“Did you enjoy lunch with my sister?”
The question threw him, shaking him out of his calm and making his next words surprised.
“Astra is your sister?”
Ben frowned annoyed by the gauche betrayal of his feelings.
Leda nodded pushing the dark curls flirting with her jaw line behind her ear.
“Actually she’s my stepsister,” she responded in the same laconic voice.
Ben studied her face trying to decide how she felt about Astra. Leda had large eyes, amber but with light green flecks, fringed with long lashes and a sprinkling of freckles over her nose that gave her an almost childlike sweetness. Her dress was black and Ben thought that she was probably four or five inches taller than Astra.
But something about her was reminiscent of Astra. Ben couldn’t put his finger on what it was. Almost everything about her was the opposite of her sister: her bold manner, her physical appearance and athletic build.
“Why wouldn’t Astra introduce us at the restaurant?”
“She was probably terrified that I would say something highly inappropriate… so she told me to get lost.”
“And would you have? Said something inappropriate I mean?”
“Judging by our conversation so far, I would say her worry was entirely justified,” she returned.
Ben was silent for a moment.
“She didn’t want me to know you were her sister?”
Leda raised her glass to him in a silent toast.
“Seems like you’re not as stupid as you look.”
Ben was taken aback by the remark, but there had been no malice in her voice, just the plain stating of fact. He decided to let it pass.
“Why wouldn’t she want me to know you were her sister?”
“Stepsister,” corrected Leda. “Guess.”
Ben looked at the young woman standing next to him in astonishment: what was she up to?
“Because you don’t get along?”
“My opinion of your intelligence just dropped twenty points.”
“It’s not exactly a fair question.”
“That’s because you haven’t been listening, Mr. Burton.”
Ben frowned, and quickly reviewed their conversation.
“Because she’s your stepsister?” he asked slowly.
“Do you like mysteries, Mr. Burton?”
“Depends what I get for solving them,” returned Ben lightly.
“In this case it will be what you don’t get,” Leda’s tone was repressive.
The slight pause between them was interrupted by a new voice.
“Leda, your presence is required elsewhere.” Astra’s words were flat but dismissal was obvious in the shift of her eyes.
“Busted!” remarked Leda with a smile. “It was nice talking to you Mr. Burton, should you tire of my sister’s company feel free to call me.” She held out a slim black stick. “This is a contact strip: Astra will tell you how to use it.”
“Leda it is highly inappropriate for you to give Mr. Burton your number.”
Astra made to retrieve it from Ben’s slack grasp but he jerked his hand back out of her way.
“I’ve never given a pretty woman her number back before and I don’t intend to start now.” he laughed.
“Such behaviour is inappropriate Mr. Burton, I must ask you to return the contact strip now.”
“I don’t think I will!”
For a moment he thought Astra was going to fight him for possession of the contact strip right here in the middle of the ball room with the elite of the Tula nation looking on but in the end she just turned to her sister.
“Go back to your father, Leda.”
“Call me, Mr. Burton.”
She placed her hand over her heart and inclined her head before withdrawing.
“She seems like quite a handful,” Ben remarked.
“She shares your delight in rousing the hornet’s nest.”
“Really?” Ben smiled, turning to watch Leda thread her way slowly through the crowd of people. “I wonder how she feels about skeletons…”
Astra gifted him with a frosty glare and suggested that they both return to their table. Ben acquiesced with a chuckle, reflecting that the day might not have gone as he had planned, but the developments had nevertheless been interesting.
Just interesting enough to make him want more.
Hi everyone! My name is Dee Dee, I’m twenty seven and I live in a beautiful part of Devon, England with my family. I have a younger sister, Jingle, who is a brilliant guitar player, some chickens, duck, geese, pheasants, a cat (that adopted us when we moved in!!!) and some Koi. Fracture is the first book in the Chronicles of Discord series and is a dystopian adventure. I also write post-apocalyptic/dystopian fiction (the Broken City series) and historical romance/adventure (the Lady Quill Chronicles series). I also have a series of short contemporary humour stories (Claire series). I really hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them. I love reading and have a kindle: I read almost anything with adventure and romance in it! I also like to cook and wear impractical high heels!!! And as you might have noticed I have a horrible addiction to exclamation marks!!!
The Head Families are at war, those who oppose Elder Headman Amajit view Astra’s acceptance into the house of Singh as an abomination, a pollution of the pure Una bloodlines.
Duty and honour ought to be clear, still Kai and Astra must learn to overcome their past and rely on each other, or face death.
Senator Burton remains trapped in the Tula strongholds with no word of his son. Should he compromise, or seize the chance to stop Ladron?
Ben seems safe under Amajit’s protection, but time is running out and a man once accustomed to influence, finds himself a pawn in a play for power.