"I will fight the thieftakers--all of them."
"There is a reason and purpose for everything, my dear. It will take time and a strong hand to bring about peace and understanding between the people."
Tori knew what her father said was true. He was a dependable and good ruler with endless patience. Authoritative and domineering, he believed in justice and the uniting of the planet.
She looked at her father. "So, you will punish Nessa for my crimes, and send her away also. Isn't it enough to separate us? I never thought of you as unjust or unfair. You know as well as I that she could never say no to me."
"And because she has not learned to say that very important word, I will banish her. It was a lesson she should have learned years ago. Saying no is such simple thing."
"You don't understand. She is sweet, pure, and so very loving. She does not have the strength within her to defy me."
Her father brushed tears of his own from his eyes then hugged her dearly. "True enough. But she followed you, without a thought to the passes and their safekeeping," he told her ruefully. "But my little one, think on this--if she is removed from your influence, perhaps she will learn to make decisions for herself."
He looked around the clearing as if he suddenly remembered the hidden sniper who had stunned all the thieftakers.
She nodded, and he touched her cheek with the palm of his hand. As if he had not meant to show a softer side, he looked away from her and directly at the men sprawled on the ground.
Three more gliders returned, one to pick up his daughter, the other one for the dead thieves, the third for his own use. He helped Tori inside the first one then moved away.
It was time for his daughter to begin her lessons. Oh, she wouldn't like the first one, purification, but perhaps she would begin to understand. "Go on now," he spoke to the pilot. To Tori, "I'll see you before you leave." He needed a moment alone.
The land gliders started back to the City. DeMontville stood in the clearing, listening while the distant sound of thunder reverberated in the hills to the east, the air muggy and hot. Yet he was certain the watcher would present himself.
A sudden roar emanated behind him. He whirled around. One of the thieftakers raced across the grass ready to throttle him, ready to do murder.
He was ill prepared. City Dwellers had long since evolved beyond hand-to-hand combat. There was no time to learn the skills now. DeMontville tensed and waited for the attack. He could only pray this man would come to his senses.
He hated to think of all the work and time he'd wasted if anything happened to him here. Surely, all would be lost. Open warfare would rule the land again.
"Halt!" The voice rang through the air.
A man stood at the edge of the trees, gun drawn and ready. The weapon was pointed at the thieftaker.
The thieftaker faltered for a split second. Although he'd surged forward with the intention of doing murder, the thieftaker fell, his body stunned, shot by the newcomer.
DeMontville looked at the thieftaker then back to the man who had saved him. No, this person was not a man but a youth several years older than his daughters.
He was tall. His dark brown eyes looked almost amber in color as the failing sunlight flitted across his face to vanish again. He was confident, with well- chiseled features and a strong jaw. And DeMontville knew him well.
DeMontville smiled slowly. "Cameron. Cameron Savage. Or is it The Phantom?"
The young man nodded and he appeared anxious now that he'd been discovered. "The meeting got out of hand," he said in his own defense. "I could not let them hurt your daughters, or kill you. They'll be fine in a few more minutes."
"There is nothing to justify here."
"And of course that big one woke up before he should have. I don't think the Council of Representatives would have liked the explanation. Actually, I did us all a favor."
"Oddly enough, you did. But you needn't fear. I won't let word of this reach your father."
Cameron blanched. "I'll tell him. You have my word."
DeMontville hesitated a moment. "It's for the best. Yet, if you would follow in his footsteps, I suggest a more passive role. You cannot assume to shoot everyone you disagree with."
A slight chuckle followed DeMontville's comment. "I will consider what you've said."
"Fine!" DeMontville said quickly. "And for keeping my silence, I would ask a favor of you."
"Anything. What do you have in mind?"
"Nothing at the moment. But when the time comes, I would like your solemn promise that you will honor my request."
"You have it."
"You won't regret the vow."
Cameron nodded and a moment later was gone, vanishing silently into the forest.
DeMontville stepped inside the glider left for him. He powered up and turned the vehicle toward the City.
He thought on his daughters, so different, and yet they looked so much the same. They'd not easily forget this day. No, it would live in their minds until he could call them home, and he prayed to God they would both learn the needed lessons.
Tori had vowed to fight all thieftakers.
He tried to smile and remember all the goodness and innocence within each one. He would miss them both terribly.
The rain fell in torrents then and lightning sizzled, hitting the ground near his glider. Indeed the day was dangerous.
The conspiracy had just begun.
Rogue Phoenix Press
Fiction, Science Fiction Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Jasmina Vallombrosa
After Nessa and Tori DeMontville are exiled for their childish disobedience, their father thinks that in time they will grow to understand the dangers of the outside world. While Nessa seems to be on the right course, Tori continues to live life as she wants to. On a chance outing she comes across the infuriatingly sexy Cameron Savage. While she thinks of him as a lowly Thieftaker, she can not stop her heart from beating faster than it has ever done before. Life only becomes more complicated for her as the evil Morray comes into her world in the pursuit for not only her hard-earned research, but also for her hand in marriage. In the midst of the chaos that ensures around her for the battle of her research lab, her path crosses that of the Phantom. As they team up to save their world as they know it, the sexual tensions between them create sparks and with Cameron Savage returning to be her husband, one can only wonder about the possibilities. Filled with drama and suspense, this book will draw you into the mysteries of science fiction. I was pleasantly surprised by Ms. Young’s storytelling talents as she wove not only a wonderful futuristic adventure, but also that of a passionate love story. I loved the main characters as they came to life on the pages. The plot was quite suspenseful and deliciously entertaining. As a result, I had no choice but to keep flipping the pages as I raced to the end.
Bravo Ms.Young for such an extraordinary book from cover to cover!