About The Book:
Title: BLOOD ROAD
Author: Amanda McCrina
Pub. Date: April 25, 2017
Format: Paperback, eBook
Nineteen-year-old Torien Risto has seen dissidents dealt with before. He knows the young local girl who just knifed him will hang for assaulting an Imperial officer, unless he can stop it.
Someone inside the provincial government is kidnapping Imperial citizens and selling them across the desert to the salt mines, silencing anyone who tries to intervene. The girl’s brother is one of those who has been taken. Rejected by the corrupt courts, she’s waging a personal war against the Empire.
Determined to save her life, Torien sets out in search of answers on the Salt Road, the ancient trade route running deep into the heart of a desert—territory claimed by the hostile Mayaso tribe.
Now, Torien is no longer sure where his own loyalty lies, or how far he will go to break the cycle of tyranny, political bullying, and social injustice in an empire that seals its borders in blood.
He touched her arm. She tensed but did not move away. He took off his glove and traced her cheekbone with two fingers, brushing the tears from her cheek. She drew a shivering breath. He turned her head and held it between his hands and brushed the tears from her eyelashes with his thumbs. She stood very still and silently while he did it, her eyes closed, her lips tight. He bent his head and buried his face in her black hair—and she slipped in suddenly under his arms, looping her arms around his neck, resting her cheek on his chest. Then she twisted against him, tilting her head back to look up in his face. “It’s no good,” she said. “I can’t feel your heart beat.”
“It’s the plums. I think I’ve suffocated.”
She laughed. He felt it echo through her body. He felt her muscles loosen. Her breath was warm on his neck. “If that’s all,” she said.
They sat below the boundary wall. She unbuckled his helmet and cuirass and held the cuirass for him while he shrugged it off. She sat against him with her knees folded up on his lap, her shoulders under the curve of his arm. She unlaced his jerkin and bent her ear to his chest. “Better,” she said. “And this—just to be sure.” She leaned into him and pressed her lips gently to the pulse in his
He kissed her. He sat up from the wall, cupping her head in his hands, and he bent his face to hers and kissed her lips, her eyelids, her forehead; he lifted her chin with his fingers and kissed the hollow at the base of her throat. Her arms were around his neck and her cheek against his and her tears running on his face. He tried to lift her to look at her. She shook her head. Her lips brushed his ear. “Don’t,” she said. Her voice was thick. So he put his arms around her waist and held her, his head and shoulders braced against the sun-warmed stones of the boundary wall, his chin on her shoulder, and he listened with his eyes closed while she cried.
He opened his eyes at the smell of wood smoke. They were smoking the hives over in the bee field. Over Ceno’s shoulder, he watched the smoke trail away southward toward the city. He could see the Hill just visible above the pines in the hazy distance, the Palace and Senate buildings in delicate white-marble miniature—and the moment shattered against it, and there was nothing but Tasso, and the orders in his saddlebag, and the cavalry column mustered and awaiting his command on the parade ground at Vione.
Amanda McCrina has studied in Italy, taught English in Japan, and currently tutors Latin in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her BA in History from the University of West Georgia, and is now pursuing her MA. She writes stories that incorporate her love of history, languages, and world travel. She drinks far too much coffee and dreams of one day having a winning fantasy-hockey season.
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