When being unique puts you in
danger and speaking your mind can be punishable by death, you might find
yourself fighting to survive. Rosa lives in The Woodlands, one of eight
enclosed cities where the lone survivors of a devastating war have been
gathered. In these circular cities everyone must abide by the law or face harsh
punishment. Rosa's inability to conform and obey the rules
brands her a leper and no one wants to be within two feet of her, until she
meets Joseph. He's blonde, fair skinned, blue eyed and the laid back,
ever-grinning, complete opposite of Rosa. She's never met anyone quite
like him, and she knows that spells danger.
But differences weren't
always a bad thing. People used to think being unique was one of the most
treasured of traits to have. That was before the bitter race war decimated most
of the planet, leaving the Russian wilderness as the only scrap of land
habitable for survivors. Now, the Superiors, who ruthlessly control the
concrete cities with an iron fist, are obsessed with creating a 'raceless'
race. They are convinced this is the only way to avoid another war. Any
anomalies must be destroyed.
The Superiors are unstoppable
and can do anything they want, after all, they are considered super heroes by
the general public. But not everyone see's them this way. When they continue to
abuse their power by collecting young girls for use in their secret, high-tech
breeding program, they have no idea that one of those girls has somehow managed
to make friends even she didn't know she had. And one man will stop at nothing
to save her.
Excerpt from The
The helicopters were
stationed at the rim of Ring One, just inside the low, sandy-colored wall that
surrounded the center podium. They were waiting, crouching like black angels
ready to lift us from this place, this hell, into an unknown world. A Guardian
in black uniform with gold trim walked to the front of the choppers and
signaled for us to come forward. Another one threw the bags in the cargo hold
as he read from his list. Three girls and eight boys. Joseph’s name was not on
the list. I felt a flood of relief that was washed away by panic. I was barely
holding myself together as it was, seeing him was liable to make me fall to
pieces. But he was supposed to be here.
Paulo’s hand was on my back,
pushing me towards the helicopter like I was an uncooperative apple on the
conveyor belt. I was trying so hard to muster up some courage. Today I was
leaving the only home I had ever known. I would never see my mother again. I
felt the anxiety rising, the crushing pain of the separation I was about to
suffer. Suddenly the grey- washed town didn’t look so horrible. It was home
after all, I guess. I told myself it was fear that was making me feel this way.
It didn’t help.My mother, who had been quietly following us around like a dazed
puppy, pulled me to her in a tight embrace. She whispered, “Sorry,” in my ear
before stepping back, fists clenched, showing the appropriate restraint. Some
other mothers were crying and holding their children as the Guardian wrenched
them away and led them onto the aircraft.
My mother’s face was my own,
the way she moved mirrored my own movements and mannerisms, but that’s where
the similarities ended. Although raised by this woman, I was nothing like her.
For the first time, I saw things from her perspective. Getting into trouble all
the time, never showing Paulo anything other than contempt. I must have been
such a frustration to her.
They called my name. Paulo
put his hands firmly on my shoulders, holding me in my place. His intense stare
was impossible to look away from. “Don’t shame your family,” he spat at me. And
with that, he made it easy to leave. I could feel the blades starting to move,
my hair whipping around my face. I stripped away the fear and anxiety, leaving
a girl that was fierce, empowered by his hatred.
“Don’t worry, Paulo, I’ll
stir it up, make a little noise!” I shouted through the wind. The Guardian that
let me sign up was watching me, probably regretting his decision. My mother was
standing rigidly, her handmade skirt billowing as the air churned around her,
her hand outstretched, pleading. I could see it in her eyes—please Rosa, don’t cause
more trouble. She couldn’t stop me, no one ever could. Paulo was already
walking away, his back to me. Behind my mother stood a man, one blue eye, one
brown, smiling. He lifted his hand to wave. I raised my hand, confused. The
chopper lurched awkwardly and I was knocked back into the cargo hold.
“Sit down!” the Guardian
snapped at me. I quickly found a spot and strapped myself in. The others were
staring at me, eyes wide. The Guardian tapped the pilot on the shoulder. “Wait,
there’s one more.”
He bounded in, bag in hand,
and casually threw it on the pile and scanned the seats. There was plenty of
room on the other side but he squeezed his bulky form between me and the boy I
was sitting next to.
Suddenly we were in the air.
When the Guardian wasn’t looking, Joseph slipped his hand over mine. Warmth
calmed the agitation I felt, like pouring gold over lead, glowing. We stayed
that way the entire ride. Eyes forward. Impossibly trying to anticipate what
may lie ahead.
About Lauren Nicolle Taylor
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. Currently, Lauren has finished her manuscript for the second book in the series titled: The Wall, as well as partially completed the third book in the series which at this time is unnamed.