Hello everyone! I'm so excited to be a part of this awesome blog hop. It's a scavenger hunt, so be sure to find the highlighted word in this post, so you can enter the grand prize contest (which has AMAZING prizes!).
Thank you so much RaShelle for having me today!
My name is Tracy Banghart, and I'm the author of three young adult novels: Moon Child, By Blood, and Shattered Veil. My newest, Shattered Veil, is a YA/crossover scifi adventure featuring Aris, a talented wingjet pilot who joins the war effort in secret and discovers love isn't the only thing worth fighting for. ;-)
Here's the official description:
When everything that defines you is stripped away, who do you become?
War has invaded Atalanta’s quiet villages and lush woodlands, igniting whispered worries in its glittering capitol. Far from the front lines, 18-year-old Aris Haan, a talented wingjet flyer, has little cause for concern. Until her beloved Calix is thrust into the fray, and a stranger makes her an impossible offer: the chance to join a secret army of women embedded within the all-male military.
Aris’s choice to follow Calix to war will do more than put her in physical danger; it will make her question everything she believes about herself. When she and her enigmatic commander uncover a deadly conspiracy, her expert flying may be the only hope for her dominion’s survival…and her own.
"It’s Mulan meets Battlestar Galactica, with a heroine who is strong enough to save a nation…but only if she’s willing to sacrifice everything, even the one promise she swore she’d never break." Winner, 2nd Place, Fiction: 2014 IndieReader Discovery Awards
Today I'm going to share with you a deleted scene from the novel. It's from early in the story, before Aris's boyfriend Calix is sent to war. Aris is obviously having a hard time letting him go - she begins the book quite dependent on him and doesn't know what to do or who she'll be without him. You also get a little sense of the larger political situation in this excerpt, which might not make a whole lot of sense out of context. ;-) I ended up cutting this scene because I wanted to put Aris on her path of transformation a little quicker, and I felt that her longing for Calix was better served elsewhere. However, if you read Shattered Veil, you might find that a few lines sound familiar - I stole bits and pieces from this scene and repurposed them. :-) Well, here we go! I hope you enjoy!
~~Only eight days until Calix left, and no one said a word about it.
Aris sat wedged between the wall and his side in a dark, smoky corner of the Toad. Their friends were gathered around the table with them – Phaedra and Rakk, Echo, Akantha. Aris tried to pay attention to their conversation, but all she could think about was eight days. One hundred ninety two hours. How that was nothing, when she wanted all the hours of her life to be with him.
“Everyone’s saying the Ward of Ruslana fainted in the middle of the World Council,” Echo was saying, “But I’m not sure I believe it. She always wears those elaborate dresses – they’re gorgeous, all spangles and bright purples and reds – and she never even wobbles, even though I bet they’re incredibly heavy. Why would she just pass out, while they were sitting around some old table talking? I mean, I don’t get it.“ Echo paused to draw a breath.
Rakk leaned forward. “I heard she’s in quarantine for some rare bacterium.” The dim light played against the ridged burn scars on his face and neck. Without meaning to, Aris glanced at his ear; most of it had been melted away by a firebomb. He’d only been back six months, and he still didn’t talk much about the war.
Would Calix be that way? So serious, his eyes full of shadows he couldn’t hide? What if he was injured? Just because he was going as a Field Mender didn’t mean he would be safe.
You could save lives. Who knows, maybe even Calix’s.
Tress’s words burst into her head out of nowhere. She took a deep breath.
“Are you okay?” Calix whispered against her ear, drawing her closer into his warmth.
She put her hand on his knee and forced a smile as she looked up at him. “Of course.” Then, turning to the others, she said tentatively, “Father says if we gave Safara access to Fex River it could end the fighting…”
Rakk shook his head. “Sorry, but I don’t believe it. I think Ward Nekkos is right; Safara is just using the river as an excuse. They don’t want to renegotiate trade. They want to occupy Atalanta.”
“I don’t know.” Calix’s words were slow, measured. “Ward Balias keeps talking about his people dying of starvation and water-borne illnesses. If Safara is really that bad off, maybe they do just need more resources.”
Rakk dropped his eyes to his drink and Phaedra moved closer to him, threading her arm through his. “But do you really think Ruslana would have imposed sanctions if that was all that was going on?” she asked, glancing from Rakk to Calix.
Before anyone could respond, the band erupted into a quick, clanging dance beat.
“Oh, let’s dance, can’t we? All this political talk is depressing.” Akantha stood and stretched, her long, lithe body shimmering in a thin-strapped golden dress. Heads turned to watch from all around the bar. Aris sighed in envy, not at the looks Akantha got, but at the way she moved: smooth and liquid as the lines of paint in the art she sold to galleries all over Atalanta. Being around Akantha made her feel even more clumsy and awkward. But, she reminded herself, Akantha was a terrible flyer. Aris could pilot a wingjet just as gracefully as Akantha could move. Maybe even better than she could paint.
“Do you feel up to dancing?” Calix asked. Everyone was standing, moving toward the dance floor, the music soaring and swirling, the thump of the beat shaking the drinks on their table.
“Sure. Don’t you?” Aris asked, following him out of the booth.
“You’re not too tired?” He kept his arm on her waist to steady her.
“Oh, no. I’m fine. Thanks.” She smiled, ignoring Akantha’s eye roll. She knew Calix’s protectiveness annoyed her friend, but Aris liked it. Akantha had only moved to Lux a couple of years ago; she didn’t know how sick Aris had been, how the headaches and leg tremblors had lasted for years, long after she’d started walking again.
Aris wasn’t a very good dancer, so she and Calix just rocked in time with the beat, their arms tight around each other, out of the way of the other dancers.
“I can’t stop thinking about it,” she said, wishing he would hold her tighter.
“Me leaving?” He wove a hand into her long hair, pulling gently until she tipped her head back to meet his eyes.
She nodded and he let her go, so she could press her cheek against his chest. “No one talks about it. No one asks you how you feel or if you’re packed, or…I don’t know. I just…they act like it’s not even happening.”
“What would they say? It’s my job, just like it was Rakk’s. I know they’re sad I’m leaving. I don’t need them to tell me all the time.”
“Because you have me for that, right?” she said, the bitterness in her voice making the joke fall flat.
Calix kissed her forehead. “It’s going to be fine, I promise. We’re going to make it through this.”
She tilted her head back, so his lips would find hers. Sliding her arms up around him and pressing closer, she felt his hands tighten reflexively on her waist. The music pounded all around them, fast and wild. She wanted him, and he’d said he wanted her. There was so little time left, so few days and hours and minutes to be together. She wanted this promise at least, the promise of his body against hers, the promise of skin against skin in the dark. Tonight, perhaps, after they’d said goodnight to their friends, they could slip down to the beach, to their special place, a cave they’d found years ago in their wanderings. It was quiet, private…
Her tongue snuck between his lips and she leaned up on her toes, her dress sliding against the smooth fabric of his tunic.
He pulled away.
“Aris,” he whispered disapprovingly, his eyes darting to the dancers twirling around the room. He kept swaying to the music, his arms around her, but there was distance now between them.
Eight more days and he’d be gone. If only he’d let them Promise. Then they could have—
The agony and the heat seethed uselessly in her veins, and suddenly she couldn’t stand being so close to him. She yanked herself from his arms and stumbled through the crowd to the door.
Outside, she leaned against the curving wall of the bar, breath heaving in her lungs. She couldn’t do it. Couldn’t pretend everything was okay the way the rest of them did. She leaned forward, bracing her hands on her knees.
“Aris!” Calix pushed through the door and rushed to her side. “Are you okay?”
He tried to pull her against his chest, but she pushed at his arms. “Stop asking me that! Of course I’m not okay! Nothing is okay, and you know it. Stop acting like I should be fine!”
“I’m sorry. I just wanted—”
“It’s all about you, isn’t it? What you think is right. What you want. What about me?” She took a deep breath, trying to calm down. What she was saying—it wasn’t fair. But she couldn’t help it. She felt so blighting powerless. “Rakk and Phae Promised before he left. Why was it okay for them but not for us? I don’t understand, Calix. I can’t stand this!”
Calix reached for her hand, but she wouldn’t let him touch her. “Don’t you remember?” he said. “They Promised before Rakk got reassigned. They didn’t know he’d be going away.”
Aris sniffed and swiped at her face. “So? It worked out anyway, didn’t it? They’re getting married in a few months.” She turned and met his gaze, her eyes pleading. “We could still Promise. We have a few more days.”
“Why isn’t this enough for you?” he burst out. “Can’t you see I’m trying to do what’s best for us? Why do you keep pushing?”
Her lips snapped shut. He never yelled at her. They never fought like this. What was happening to them?
“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “It’s just—I don’t want you to go. Being Promised—” her voice cracked. “—it’s something to hold on to. When you’re far away and I can’t reach you. I’d still have something.” Holy, she was crying again.
“Leaving you isn’t a choice. You can’t keep blaming me for this.”
“How can you say that? I don’t blame you—”
“I know. I’m sorry.” His face softened. “But, Aris, not Promising…it isn’t the end of us. You can’t keep acting like it is. I’m trying to do what’s right so we can have a future.”
Aris put her hand on his chest. “I know you are. I just can’t help wanting our future to start now.”
“I love you too much to risk it,” he said, his voice rough, “I don’t want to make any mistakes.” He pulled her into his arms.
She closed her eyes and leaned into him. It made sense, what he said. She knew she had to stop pushing. On some level, she did understand his reasoning. That didn’t make the waiting – the wanting – easier. But she could do it. For him, she’d wait forever.
“You can’t make a mistake. Not with us.”
Well, there you have it! I hope you like what you read and that you'll check out Shattered Veil. Only $2.99 for a Kindle copy! Click here to download now! Also, I will have some VERY exciting news to share next month, so if you'd like to be one of the first to know, sign up for my newsletter (I send out emails once a month and usually give away stuff. No spamming!)
Army wife and new mom Tracy Banghart has an MA in Publishing and an unhealthy affection for cupcakes. Her quiet childhood led to a reading addiction, writing obsession, and several serious book boyfriends. Shattered Veil is her third novel.
Here's the schedule for the rest of the blog hop, and don't forget to join us today for the all-day, awesomesauce Facebook party, with even MORE prizes! Here's the link!
EuphorYA Scavenger Hunt Blog Stops
Here's the schedule for the EuphorYA Scavenger Hunt. Each blog stop features exclusive content from one of our authors as well as a giveaway. Collect the blue / red / pink colored words to make the daily secret phrases. Then enter for your chance to win the Grand Prize Giveaway--$75 Amazon / Nook gift card (first prize only), books and swag (first, second and third prizes).
In addition to the grand prize (rafflecopter form below), I'm giving away a $10 Amazon giftcard! You'll find the rafflecopter below.
GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY
$10 AMAZON GIFTCARD