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Flare (#2)

Flare (#2)

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The Empire has taken everything from Ember. It’s time for payback--and accepting the fact that she might just be falling in love with an enemy. 

Experience the romantic sci-fi adventure series now.

Main tropes

  • Kick-butt heroine
  • Beautiful settings
  • Hero in distress


The Empire has taken everything from Ember. It’s time for payback.

Ember doesn’t have time to mourn. She’s got big plans—save the oppressed flickers, rescue Stefan, and bring the Empire to its knees. But she soon discovers that her ability has a terrible, unthinkable cost. Can Ember choose between the man she loves and the Empire she hates?

Stefan has succeeded in helping Ember escape. His grandmother’s prophecy is being fulfilled and he’s ready to face execution for his part in it. But when he uncovers the Union’s deadly secret, Stefan realizes he must survive long enough to find the Union’s base and warn Ember— before she pays with her life.

Sneak Peek: Chapter 1

Ember’s first glimpse of Karralon, the Union base and her new home, should have been comforting. Her weeklong journey was nearly over, her frustrating sense of limbo at an end. The planet even looked similar to Earth from this distance—a water planet, brilliant blue and probably brimming with life like her former home. It should have felt like a new beginning, an opportunity. 

It felt like nothing at all. 

She sat quietly in her seat behind the pilots, an obedient passenger watching the screen just like the others. But inside of her there was just deadness. The planet before her held no more promise for her than this ship held warmth. It was a vehicle, nothing more. A means to an end. An end Ember intended to control.

Ember realized she’d lifted her arm to trace her scar again and forced her hands to her lap. Stefan must have torn that terrible collar off her while she was unconscious because Mar said it was missing when Stefan shoved Ember onto that emergency pod. 

This is what the stars decreed, Ember. I just wish we could have been together in the end.

She shoved the memory away. The only evidence she’d ever worn Kane’s collar was the scar on the back of her neck. It was healing nicely, though Kane’s collar had singed some of the nerve endings there, creating a strange numbness when touched. The ship’s medic hadn’t been able to bring the sensation back in that patch of skin. Ember only wished she could apply the same numbness to her mind.

She leaned forward, squinting at the screen. As similar as Karralon looked to Earth, it lacked one important detail. Instead of brown masses of land dotting the planet, she saw only ocean. A globe made up entirely of water. 

“Where are we supposed to land?” she asked the pilot. The rainbow-haired Gilgan woman continued to fiddle with the instruments before her, ignoring Ember’s question as she had so many times over the past week. Gilgans had never been known for their manners.

So far, their journey to the Union base had been uneventful—on the surface, anyway. The long nights Ember spent on a hard bunk in a far corner of the boarding room were peppered with nightmares of Commander Kane standing over her laughing. Dreams of Dai writhing in his bed, calling for her and weeping at the pain. Wondering where she had gone. 

The days were even longer. Ember saw Bianca often in the passenger hold, but her former friend avoided her as if she didn’t exist. She’d even tried to corner Bianca, to force her to listen. But when their gazes locked, Ember found she had nothing to say. 

There was no defense, no way to soften the explanation for what Ember had done. While Ember mourned a father, Bianca had watched her own husband and her three-year-old son die and then had given birth to a stillborn daughter. Her friend was broken, lost in a world of pain Ember could never hope to ease. 

A world Ember inflicted on her, however she wished it wasn’t so. 

The Empire had fallen upon her village like dragons descending upon helpless sheep. All the fighting, the planning, the struggling to get home and she’d lost anyway—along with everyone else who meant anything to her. 

They’d called her the most powerful being in the universe. They couldn’t be more wrong. 

“I asked where we’re going to land,” Ember said again, swallowing the lump in her throat. “Is the base underwater?” 

The pilot tossed a quick reply over her shoulder. “You’ll see in a moment, Lady Flare.” 

The passengers—all sixty-two—had taken to calling her Lady Flare on the first day. She’d asked them to stop, to no avail. She almost preferred being called gypsy. Hence, she’d spent most of the past three days in this cockpit, learning all she could about the ship and its operations. At least that was her excuse. In reality, she couldn’t bear any more glaring and whispering from the passengers. One in particular. 

Bianca reminded her of home, and home reminded her of Dai. 

Ember chafed at the pilot’s terse reply. The entire ship knew who she was and what she could do, the pilot no exception. Was this a taste of what she would face on Karralon? 

“Coming in sharp by .043 degrees, Captain,” said the copilot, a man about Dai’s age with thinning hair and permanent frown. 

Ember strained to see over their heads to the blue ocean beyond them. They were closing in at ridiculous speeds. Were they to plunge into the ocean and let the water slow them? Wouldn’t the impact shatter the craft into a thousand pieces? 

“You’ve done this before, right?” Ember asked.

The pilot snorted. The copilot glared at her, then muttered something under his breath as he turned back to his controls. 

The message was clear. Ember sat back, tightly gripping the armrests as her stomach fluttered. Bianca likely sat in the passenger hold, feeling much like this and hating Ember. Mar, Ember’s friend from the station, would be chattering to the person next to her to hold her nerves at bay. She didn’t seem happy about joining the Union, but she didn’t have much choice. And Amai, the Union leader who’d recruited her—well, Ember hadn’t seen her in days. She rarely knew where the woman was at any given time. She’d have to remember that Amai’s loyalty was to the Daughter and nobody else. 

“Activate thrusters for seventy-four degrees at 4.1 percent,” the pilot said, all business now.

“Thrusters activated.” The copilot’s hands flew over the instruments. 

Ember leaned forward now, blinking to focus. Something floated in the ocean below them. It looked like a big mass of wavy white lines.

“Communicate security code,” the pilot said. 

“Communicating now.”

A light on the control panel beeped slowly at first, then more insistently. The pilots looked intent as they slowed the craft. Their descent occurred in controlled bursts, Ember’s stomach lurching each time. Then they hovered for a long moment over the white mass, which seemed to be moving, writhing like a hundred living ribbons. Only a brightness at the center held firm. A landing pad?

The ship touched ground with a jolt. 

Not ground, Ember reminded herself. There was none of that here. As much as it looked like home from above, it wasn’t. Ember had joined the Union to take down the Empire. She wasn’t here to make friends or find stability. She would never again be that person. 

The pilot finished securing the ship, running through a checklist of some kind with the copilot. They turned back to her, looking triumphant.

“Impressive,” Ember admitted, snapping her harness open. “Thank you for allowing me to watch you work.”

The pilot shrugged. “Our job is simple compared to yours. Fulfill the Daughter’s wishes, and that will be thanks enough, Lady Flare.

For once the title didn’t sound sarcastic. She would never understand Gilgans. “You don’t by chance know what the Daughter wants me to do?”

“Of course not. But she doesn’t send us out to rescue civilians without good reason.”

The copilot scowled. “If that’s the case, Captain, maybe you’d better let the girl visit the Daughter already. I’m going to get some fresh air. It stinks in here.” He strode to the hatch and unlocked it. 

“That’s just you,” the pilot muttered after him. Then she gave Ember a tired smile. “They’re decompressing the outer doors now. You’re free to go.” 

Ember slid her jacket over her shoulders, bothered by the comment. The pilot was wrong. Ember wouldn’t be free for a long while yet. Starting today, she served the Daughter. She’d done nothing but exchange one master for another. 

And now she was about to find out what kind of master that would be. 

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