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The stranger wrapped his arm around Isabelle and led her toward the nearby door. The dust and rubble filled the atmosphere of the once elaborate building. Adam kicked debris from his path as he drew closer to the thickest clouds of smog. The faint grip of a struggling hand wrapped around his ankle. A gurgling rasp called for help below him.
Adam dropped to his knees. The fog lessened near the floor. He removed the hand from his ankle, placing it inside his palm. A warm dampness coated his skin. His eyes burned as he struggled to focus through the dryness.
“Adam,” the voice gurgled heavier, “Adam, get the hell out of here.”
His eyes focused on the face. His neighbor lay before him burned and bloody. The left side of his body appeared shredded by one of the bombs. Adam fought faintness at the horrid sight. There was no doubt in his mind that his neighbor would die in a matter of moments.
“What can I do to help you, Henry?” he forced an optimistic smile.
“Find her,” blood drizzled the side of his face with his words, “Find Mary. Make sure she is safe.”
Adam gazed the small range of vision he could obtain along the floor. Mary lay a few feet away from them. Most of her face had been blown away from a blast. He recognized her tight silver curls through the blood. Fear resonated through her one remaining eye even in death.
“I will find her, Henry. I promise.”
“Find her now, Adam,” he coughed as the rush of blood flowed freely from his lips, “Leave me and find her.”
Adam squeezed his hand and humbled him with a look of promise before he stood. He wiped the blood into the fabric of his jacket as he swallowed the urge to cry. His anger and resentment grew. He stepped but a few steps before he stopped in his tracks. He caught the sweetness of her scent.
His foot pivoted to turn when he heard it: the clicking sound of a gun echoed by the right side of his head. He stood solid and took in her scent through the smell of fire and destruction. His heart raced.
“Turn around,” she demanded.
My next release will be a bit of something new and the credit goes directly to my daughter. IMBROGLIO is not my normal novel genre. It is “NEW ADULT”- It is also the non-erotic version of STEAMFATE. Steamfate is my literary love. I speak of this book daily. I am sure my family is sick of my obsession with these fictional characters. But it turns out, one issue of my adoration for Steamfate was the limited reading scope. My daughter was sick of hearing about characters she already loved without reading—and could not read because I am not giving my daughter an erotic novel, obviously. ENTER IMBROGLIO. All the revolution, lies, secrets, scandal, and politics are still there. The airships and steampunkery inventions are still there. The love and passion remain. The in-depth details have been altered for all eyes “NEW ADULT” and beyond to read. Maybe this can spark a great duo for book clubs. Like salsa- choose your heat.
I am currently in search of reviewers for pre-release ARC reviews and book clubs interested in intermingling the reader choice of Imbroglio, the new adult version and Steamfate, the erotic romance version. Emails of interest should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org