Author: Claire Warner
Series: C.O.I.L.S. of Copper and Brass (Book 1)
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Raven Press
Release Date: Mar 1 2017
Edition ~ 1st ~~ Formats ~ eBook
"You thought I did this out of the goodness of my heart?" He gave a short mirthless laugh. "Not a bit of it, this is going to be dangerous for me. What are you offering for my help?"
Beneath the Amber Sky, the nobility control the food, education, and the mysterious C.O.I.L.S of Copper and Brass. To Tay, struggling to keep her siblings alive, the ideas of rebellion and freedom are distant and unreachable.
But when her father is arrested, she begs Darius James, the son of the Overseer, to save his life. Darius agrees, but his help costs her a favour, one he can call in at any time.
Darius' favour will bring her to the Palace, and the perfect position to help the growing rebellion. But the court has games beyond anything she has seen before, and Darius' secrets will add to the danger.
Tay is now able to make a difference, to join the rebellion, find the C.O.I.L.S and discover the secrets of the Amber Sky. All she has to do is survive.
I love to read. As a child I read all of the Enid Blyton books and devoured Roald Dahl. As a teenager, I discovered LJ Smith, Anne McCaffrey, Tamora Pierce, and David Eddings and went through the phase of reading Point Horrors. As an adult, I found Kelley Armstrong, Raymond E Feist, Georgette Heyer, The Brontes, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Sheridan La Fanu and Henry James. I cannot imagine life without books.
So I have begun to write for myself. My characters live in my head and from time to time they want to live in other peoples as well. I want to share them with you and I hope you love them as much as I do.
Amazon Author Page ~ http://amzn.to/2fCTugz
Blog ~ Literary Musings ~~ http://literarymusing.weebly.com
Website ~ Claire's Scribbles ~~ http://clairewarner.weebly.com/
Excerpt: (Please Note: Text has not been fully edited)
The house was built from a white stone that was now discoloured from the soot in the atmosphere. On the faded cherry-coloured door, a knocker in the shape of a lion warned her off, with what she fancied was a contemptuous gaze. For a long moment she stared at the wood, wondering at the wisdom of what she was attempting. Lars and Cody could have been wrong, and this trip could easily land her in the cells. As the ever-present wind chapped her lips, she mustered her resolve. All other options had been exhausted, and this was all she had left. Taking a deep breath, she raised her hand and knocked. For several moments she waited on the doorstop, shifting uneasily from one foot to the other, nervous beyond thought.
The door creaked open, and a maid stared down at her with unconcealed distaste. Tay nervously wet her lips, and opened her mouth to speak.
“No beggars,” The maid spoke first, her voice shrill with strident condemnation, as she took in Tay's attire. Confident in her dismissal, she moved to close the door.
“No wait,” Tay placed her foot in the hall, and leant forward. The maid stopped moving, distaste morphing into shock. “I need to speak to Darius..." Despite her best efforts, Tay's voice still shook. "Please,” The woman stared down at her with disbelief, incredulous at her audacity.
“I don’t think so,” The woman began pushing the door shut, physically moving Tay's fragile frame with its wooden weight. Tay held her ground, trying to keep the door open.
“Please…” She pleaded once more, her voice echoing loudly in the hallway. Panic thrummed through her, mindful of the spectacle she was creating. One complaint from any of the people on the street behind her, and the guards would come. “I need to see him.” It was a desperate, yearning plea, yet the maid was having none of it. The door jammed against her toes, and she winced. The maid was winning the battle, her far stronger, well-fed, bulky frame inching Tay closer to the street, with each movement of the door.
“What’s going on?” A male voice echoed across the hall, and the maid stopped.
“It’s this beggar sir,” The woman held the door steady, as she turned to face the speaker. “She wishes to talk to you,” Her voice was sneering, only slightly mollified by deference to her master.
“Let me see,” The man walked forward, and the maid reluctantly let go of the door. Tay's eyes roved across the man's body, starting at his well-shod feet, and travelling over his body. A well-tailored, dark blue suit framed a lean body, and a cane lay carelessly in his hands. Casting her gaze upwards, she stared directly into a pair of deep blue eyes, which were alight with interest.
“I need to see you Darius,” She appealed directly to him, staring into his ice blue eyes with silent entreaty. She ignored the scandalised tut of the maid beside her, as she took a step forward. “It’s important.”
Darius thought for a moment, before he nodded. “Let her in,” He said to the maid, stepping back along the hall. With a look of shock on her features, the woman stepped away from the door and let Taya into the house.
Warmth enveloped her as she stepped off the street, and followed Darius’ beckoning finger. The maid closed the door behind her, as she slowly crossed the hall towards a door on the left. Her eyes drifted across the panelled space, awed by the warmth and luxury she perceived. Decorated in shades of gold and blue, the hallway was dominated by a sweeping staircase. A heavy chandelier, festooned with lights, swung from the ceiling, and it was blissfully, wonderfully warm.
"Come on girl," Tay's head snapped back to the doorway, and she almost tripped over her own feet, as she hastened towards the sitting room. A fire blazed in a large hearth, filling the room with warmth. Above the mantel, a gilt framed mirror reflected her scared and lost frame. Several, comfortable looking, couches lay about the room, and a variety of expensive knick-knacks, lay on the wooden cabinet against the wall. Intimidated, she looked around at the luxuriant surroundings, and swallowed nervously.
“Warm yourself up,” Darius spoke, indicating the roaring fire and she stepped before it gratefully, feeling the heat radiate across her cold skin. “Emma,” He turned to the maid. “Can you find me some old clothes?” With a sour look on her face, the maid nodded. As soon as she had left, Darius turned back to the room. “Now that she’s gone,” He said as he walked forward. “Why don’t you tell me what you want?”
Taya bit her lip and fidgeted. What had seemed like a good idea in the safety of her home, now felt like insanity. She glanced at him, noticing the arrogant cast to his features and the surety of his gaze. He was handsome, she realised with a jolt. Beneath a shock of black hair, ice blue eyes stared out at her with disconcerting directness.
“My name’s Taya and…” She stopped, wondering how she could continue with her request.
“And?” He encouraged, noticing her hesitation. “I can’t help you if you don’t ask.”
“My father has just been sent to the mines,” She said quickly, watching the realisation cross his face.
“I see,” He noted softly, staring at her with interest. “And?”
“He already has a weak heart,” She found herself saying. “The mines will kill him.”
“I fancy that’s the idea,” He uttered reaching for a glass of amber liquid that lay on the mantel and took a sip. “What do you expect me to do about it?”
“You’re the son of the overseer,” She argued, her voice becoming stronger as she attempted to argue her case. “They say you can get people released.”
“Possibly,” He took another sip and regarded her closely. “Who is he?”
Taya swallowed nervously, hoping that her gamble paid off. If she were wrong, he could have the guard here within moments. “Caleb Emerson,” She announced, fear rippling through every syllable.
“The saboteur,” He whispered, understanding crossing his features. “He’s a high profile prisoner.”
“He was set up…”
“I have no doubt,” He answered, mockery rippling through his tones.
“It’s true,” She was angry now. “They pinned it on him because he was protesting at the ration reduction. He would never....” He held up a hand and she stopped speaking, breathing rapidly with the sudden rush of emotion.
“All right I get the point,” He fell silent, regarding her closely. For several long moments, he said nothing, his face creased in thought. Tay watched him with increasing impatience.
"Please," She moved to stand before him, her voice pleading as she stared at his face. "He won't survive, and his ration will stop. I have two siblings. We'll all starve."
"It's not as simple as that," He said finally, looking down at her. "Your father has been sent to the mines to die, you must know that," She glanced away from his gaze, unwilling to see the truth she saw reflected there. "If I manage to get him released, my head is on the block."
"Then get him transferred," She pleaded, trying not to let tears flow. "Put him on a lighter duty, anything that will keep him alive."
"It's a big risk," He swallowed the last of the drink. "Particularly as your family..." He left the statement hanging, reminding Tay of her mother's death during an earlier rebellion.
"Please," She did not wish to beg, but she could see no other option. With her father incarcerated for a similar offence to her mother's, she would be barred from all but the most menial work. She had barely scraped rating for the job she had been doing, and her father's arrest had ended that employment. Any work she was eligible for, would never feed the three of them. The fire popped, breaking the silence that had fallen between them.
"Alright..." He said finally, "I'll see what I can do."
"Thank you," Relief flooded through her, and she stepped back, eager to leave the oppressive luxury of this room.
"Just one thing," She froze, sudden fear spiking through her. "What are you offering for my help?"