Series: The Woodlands, Book 2
Author: Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Published: October 11th, 2013 by Clean Teen Publishing
Word Count: approx. 88,000
Genre: YA Mature Dystopian Romance
Content Warning: Violence
Recommended Age: 16+
Joseph, wake up, wake up, wake up.
She says it over and over. It’s her plea, her prayer, her mantra. But life doesn’t stop while he’s sleeping. Rosa’s been thrown into a new world, with new rules, and a philosophy that sounds too good to be true. She’s also sure they didn’t rescue her out of the goodness of their hearts. The Survivors must want something from them… but what?
The Wall finds Rosa eagerly entering a new life, yet struggling to keep the demons and ghosts of the past from dragging her backwards. She’s left so many people behind and isn’t sure how to start over. There’s freedom in the Survivors’ world, more than she’d ever dreamed of, but there’s also secrets. The darkest of which pulls Rosa headfirst into a trauma, forcing her to reevaluate her past and pushing her to make a choice that may destroy the tenuous, sewn-together family she’s built on the outside.
Will Rosa make the right choice… or will she lose everything she has fought so hard for?
His face was a memory. I filled in the spaces, inserted pink to his yellow skin, added weight to his thinner body. I leaned down and kissed him. The smallest glint of gold sparked through me. He was still there. I leaned down to his ear and whispered, “I named our son. But I’m not going to tell you his name until you ask me.” An ache shot through me as I remembered one of our first conversations back in Pau. Joseph had said he wouldn’t bring up the subject of my father until I asked him. We still had so much to talk about, so many things to learn about each other. It wouldn’t end here. It couldn’t.
The nurses disconnected him from the machines. One put a suction cup over his mouth attached to a balloon and squeezed it at even intervals. I let my hand trail the edge of the bed until it connected with nothing. They disappeared.
“This will take all night, Rosa. I suggest you try and sleep,” Matthew said, rubbing his tired, creased forehead.
I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, sure thing.” As if I could sleep.
Now it was just Cal and me.
“Do you know what they are going to do to him?” I asked, blinking away stray tears.
He looked up from his feet, his eyes hopeful. “No, but Matt’s very good, the best.”
Something was stirring in me. Old feelings of curiosity long suppressed. “How did he get that way? I mean, do you have Classes like we do?”
Cal laughed at me, and I hardened. I glared at him and he swallowed the laugh like a bitter pill. “No. No Classes. Matt wanted to be a doctor so he studied to become one.”
This was an amazing and confusing revelation for me. People could choose their path in life? The idea of that amount of freedom was, surprisingly, a little terrifying. And like that, the seductive distraction of finding out more about the Survivors took over. I leaned into Cal intensely. “What else can you tell me?” His cheeks were pink, surprised by my sudden closeness.
“Not much, I’m afraid. I’m not supposed to say much until you take the pledge. Besides, you really need to see it for yourself.”
Cal explained that all survivors had to take a pledge. It was a way of securing your allegiance, to the secrecy of their home and also to each other. Everyone had to take care of each other and help any other survivors who came along, which was not many, apparently. We were the first in many, many years and the only known escapees of the Woodlands. So that’s what Matt meant when he said it was his duty. It sounded nice but a tiny warning light was flashing, a faint, red glow. Was I swapping one cult for another?
“So you can’t tell me anything?” I sighed.
He responded to my obvious disappointment, eager to impress. “I can show you some things,” he said, extending his hand. I eyed it apprehensively. I wasn’t sure, and I really should have stayed right where I was. I talked myself into it; waiting was not going to achieve anything anyway. I took his hand. It was warm and dry. A shiver ran through me, a reminder, and I let go abruptly. I walked to the cot to check on the baby. Hopefully, he would sleep for at least an hour. “Ok, lead the way.”
Cal grinned at me and started walking down the hall away from where the people were. Then as it got quieter and darker, he broke into a jog. I jogged behind him, wondering why I was mindlessly following this strange boy but feeling a sense of freedom. My footsteps sent a new energy through my body as I ran. A sense of my old self, impulsive, mischievous, was surging forward. He told me to hurry up. We were nearly there.
He pulled up suddenly and turned to face me. In the dark, I could barely make him out and I slammed right into his stationary body with a thud. We were both panting, breathless. I laughed. So did he.
Once I couldn’t hear footfalls anymore, another sound was pushing up out of the darkness. Barking.
About the Author:
Lauren Nicolle Taylor is a 33-year-old mother living in the tiny, lush town of Bridgewater on the other side of the world in Australia. She married her high school sweetheart and has three very boisterous and individual children. She earned a Bachelors degree in Health Sciences with Honours in Obstetrics and Gynecology and majored in Psychology while minoring in Contemporary Australian Writing.
After a disastrous attempt to build her dream house that left her family homeless, She found herself inexplicably drawn to the computer. She started writing, not really knowing where it may lead but ended up, eight weeks later, with the rough draft of The Woodlands.
In 2013, Lauren Nicolle Taylor accepted a publishing contract with Clean Teen Publishing. Her first published novel, The Woodlands, was released on August 30, 2013. The Wall is the second book in The Woodlands Series.
Clean Teen Publishing Links:
There is an international tour wide giveaway.
Prizes include the following:
• GRAND PRIZE: Digital book of reader's choice from Clean Teen Publishing, bookmark prize pack, and $5 Amazon gift card
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