If you follow me on Facebook, chances are you saw the announcement that I will be relaunching CAPTURE in May. If not, well, surprise!
CAPTURE was the first book that I wrote, and the early drafts definitely showed that. But I've gone back and reworked the story, and I feel comfortable with where it is now. I added in more Ian. I reworked the ending so that it doesn't go by so fast. I also added a prologue and an epilogue. So, there are a ton of changes.
The official relaunch will be on May 23rd, 2014.
I do not have a final cover yet, but I do have a placeholder cover. And a description. And a pre-order link. ;)
Here is the placeholder cover:
Every family has its secrets. Some are just more costly than others.
Autumn Stone has spent her entire life in Lunica City, a home for those with the gift of magic. It was a place of freedom, a place of happiness, a place that she considered to be a part of her. Until a stranger destroyed that illusion with one single action.
He holds the key to who she really is.
But he also holds the ability to destroy her.
The city as Autumn knows it to be no longer exists. It is buried beneath pain, fire, and death. A haunting shadow of the place she once called home.
As secrets are revealed, and powers are tested, Autumn will have to risk everything that she has left in order to protect her loved ones.
But safety comes with a price.
Smashwords Pre-Order Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/433461?ref=NicoleSobon
It'll be $0.99 until May 30th, at that time, it'll go up to $2.99.
I've also included the Prologue and the First Chapter beneath a cut.
Please note that I'm still editing it, so there's a chance the text could change before publication!
No matter how hard I ran, it never stopped.
It wrapped its forceful arms around me, trying to pull me underneath its all-consuming hold. Pain had a way of doing that – of completely destroying a person. But this time, I wouldn’t give in.
I had to remind myself why I was doing this.
I had to remember that this was for her.
I could push past the pain if it meant I had a chance to know her. She was a buried secret from my past, one that held the key to my future.A future that I’d risk everything to know.
June 16th, 2025
The town center buzzed with life. Children, dressed in black jeans and white t-shirts, ran amongst the stands oblivious to the people surrounding them. The adults watched on, smiling as the children played. And the guards, having assumed their positions in front of the Command Center gates, stood ready for any sign of a threat. Not that one ever came. It was just their way of maintaining the peace.
Everything seemed normal.
That was until a strange young, man took to the front of the Command Center.
Lunica City was a small place. Everyone knew everyone, but him? He wasn’t from here. He was an outsider, a stranger. One that wasn’t welcome here.
I could sense his anger, and his hatred, and given the way the children had run away from him, I knew they could as well.
He stood tall with hair black as night, skin pale as could be, and muscles that would intimidate even the strongest of Lunica City's guards.
“Is something wrong?” he asked the onlookers. A tight grin stretched upon his lips as he turned to look at the people gathered outside of the Command Center.
Some had managed to look away long enough to run back home.
But it was hard for me to look away from the burning hatred visible in his eyes.
I watched as he stepped closer to a small group of bystanders. “I’m sorry, was I not loud enough the first time?” The anger in his voice managed to illicit goosebumps throughout my body. “Is something wrong?”
“No, no…” a woman responded nervously, lowering her head to avoid making eye contact with the towering figure.
She wore a black dress, and her grey hair hung loosely around her fear ridden face.
He leaned forward, gripping her chin between his fingers, forcing her to look up at him. “Nothing is wrong,” she said, her words much weaker than I was sure she’d intended them to be. “We mean you no disrespect.”
At that, I chuckled to myself. She was apologizing for his behavior. She was apologizing because we had felt uncomfortable in his presence.
It was maddening, especially considering he was the psychopath that had made himself welcome in our city – in our home.
“Our sincerest apologies,” she said, fumbling over her words as she spoke, his hand still gripping her chin. Had she not shivered in fear under his hold, her words might have seemed believable.
The man grinned, tossing the woman towards the ground, causing her head to smack against the concrete floor. “Unfortunately you, my dear, are wrong. Nothing is fine.”
A few of the guards ran forward dressed in black armor, wielding large white guns that beamed with a blue light. “Identity yourself,” one of the guards demanded, pressing his gun against the stranger’s left temple. When the man remained quiet, he pulled back on the trigger ever slowly, trying to force an answer out of him.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” A menacing grin tugged at the corners of his mouth.
Both anger and pleasure rolled off of him, making it evident just how dangerous he truly was. He held no sense of fear; no sense of sympathy for the terror he had inflicted upon the crowd. Not an ounce.
He took pride in their cowering because he knew that meant he was in control.
“Identify yourself immediately,” the guard repeated. His tone was harsh and commanding, but that didn’t seem to matter to the stranger.
He lowered his head, ignoring the guard’s command. His arms rose from their resting place at his sides. Slowly, he lifted his arms, stretching them out in front of him as though creating a shield.
I stood in place, unable to move; reluctant to take my eyes off of the strange man. It almost felt as though there was some sort of pull between us, and no matter how hard I tried to fight it, I couldn’t break the connection.
It hadn’t helped that I was curious – and yet terrified – of his actions.
What the hell is he doing? I thought.
Orange sparks of magic radiated around his body, creating the illusion that he was on fire. The others looked on in awe. Not because what he had done was something special, but because they realized he was just getting started.
All logic in my mind was telling me to run – to get the hell out of there before it was too late. But I didn’t move. My feet were glued to the gravel beneath my feet. My eyes locked on the menacing stranger.
I stared at his face, trying to make sense of who he was. The chiseled jaw, the sunken eyes…I’d never seen him before in my life, but yet I had felt as though I’d known him.
Maybe that sounded a bit insane. And really, it did. But it was the truth.
There was something familiar about him; something that I just couldn’t shake.
He raised his head, forcing his eyes to meet my curious stare. He gazed at me questioningly, a slight hint of pain visible on his face. I tried to look into his mind, but the image I found were not the ones I’d hoped to see.
A curious one are you? his voice filled my thoughts.
I eyed him suspiciously, allowing him to feed me what information he’d allow me to see.
“Lucas,” a woman whispered. “Come now, I’ll protect you.”
I wasn’t sure who the woman was. Though there was a familiar ring to her voice. But at least now, I’d had a name for the crazed stranger.
That should’ve been enough to comfort me, but the revelation had only made my concern grow. There weren’t exactly that many residents named Lucas within Lunica City. In fact, there was only one that I could currently recall hearing about.
A relative of Official Agnes.
Sparks emerged from the tips of his fingers. Lucas spun around, breaking our connection in an instant.
He threw his hands forward causing the sparks to launch out towards the stunned bystanders. They didn’t react. They didn’t even attempt to move. Not that it mattered much, really. Even if they did attempt to run away, there was no way they would’ve been able to escape.
He was far too powerful.
We were used to magic. It flowed through our veins. It buzzed in our cores. It made us who we were. In all actuality, we should’ve been able to protect ourselves against him.
But we weren’t used to residents using magic against one another outside of training.
We were supposed to be safe here inside of Lunica City.
Things like this were not supposed to happen. We were not prepared for attacks on our people by one of our own residents – not at this scale, at least. Others that attempted to hurt another being were quickly banished outside of the city. But those attacks were incredibly rare, and they’d never endangered nearly as many people as this one.
The guards stood by unsure of what to do. The fifteen people the man had struck stood frozen, their bodies lit up by the sparks burning underneath their skin. As the sparks ran their course, their bodies slumped to the ground, shattering into pieces.
Fifteen lives destroyed for no reason what-so-ever.
Fifteen of my fellow residents turned into unidentifiable remnants.
We stood there stunned, unable to make sense of what was going on around us. I wanted to run, to get away, but my feet remained planted firmly in the dirt below.
Once the initial shock of the attack wore off, the guards moved in on the stranger. The guard that still remained at the man’s side from before was preparing to pull the trigger when the man knocked him to the ground. “I warned you, did I not?” He kicked the gun out of the guard’s hand and positioned himself so that he hovered above the guard. “I’m not going to kill you. That wouldn’t be right. After all, you may be of use to me someday.”
He slapped the guard’s face teasingly before easing himself to his feet.
The other guards were ready and waiting. They grabbed a hold of his wrists the second he took to his feet. One of them lunged forward with a collar, securing it tightly around the man’s neck. “There will be no more of this.” He gestured towards the shattered remains aligning the town center. “You will relocate to Ubiera, and you will be banned from ever stepping foot in Lunica City again, do you understand?”
The man laughed it off. “We’ll see.” He turned to face me as the guards led him toward the gate surrounding the city. When he noticed that I was staring, he winked before blowing a kiss at me.
What a freaking creep, man. I probably should’ve blocked my thoughts because, given the humorous smirk that covered his lips, he knew exactly what I’d been thinking.
The gate to the city slammed shut as they made their way to the world outside, and I found myself wondering what the heck had just happened.
Danger wasn’t a well acquainted companion inside of the walls of Lunica City. Murder wasn’t something that we’d found ourselves dealing with too often. And yet, I’d just watch fifteen of my fellow residents die at the hands of an individual that had been given shelter here.
How could he do something so terrible and not feel even the slightest bit of remorse for his actions? I just couldn’t comprehend it.
But I was sure that this wasn’t the last of the horror that we’d experience at the hand of the man. He’d be back. I could only hope that it’d be later rather than sooner.
One of the guards turned around, and pointed at the remains that surrounded us. I watched as the piles of remains swirled into the air, lifting off the ground with ease, before vanishing into thin air.
There was nothing left to show what had happened. A swift cover-up operation, I was sure. This was something they’d have to cover up before the other residents heard what had happened. And I couldn’t say that I’d blamed them in that retrospect. Death wasn’t something that people took lightly.
And it wouldn’t help to ease their worries if they knew the truth.
The guards had already led Lucas out of the city, and far from the gate. The innocent lives that he’d stolen? They’d become nothing more than memories.
There was nothing to tell, nothing to show, and they’d do their best to keep it that way.
We were always told that we would be safe here; that magic was a right of ours. If the news of today’s events managed to seep out, people would panic, and they couldn’t allow that to happen. Life needed to continue on. They needed the residents to go about their normal routine. But fifteen living bystanders having bore witness to the truth, there was still plenty that needed to be sorted out.
We would need to be taken care of.
Killing us would’ve been the easy choice, of course, but then they would’ve needed to explain how thirty residents disappeared without a trace. Sure, if they were desperate, they could announce that we’d all been banished, but those were rare inside of the city. There was no way in hell they’d be able to justify something like that to the other residents, at least, not without creating another mess that they’d need to clean up.
The iron-wrought gates that surrounded the Command Center opened up. “Would someone like to explain what exactly is going on here?” Official Agnes’ voice pierced the haunting silence. She looked out at among us, waiting for a response.
But no one answered here.
And honestly? I didn’t expect anyone to do so.
“Come here.” She pulled a young boy forth, placing her hands on the sides of his face. She closed her eyes, searching for an answer hidden away inside of his thoughts. The atmosphere remained quiet as we all waited for her to speak again. “I see.”
Well, that wasn’t exactly a comforting response. Especially since her tone was flat. Anger was normal for her, the same went for arrogance, but for her to convey no sort of emotion? That wasn’t like the Official.
She pulled away from the young boy and began pacing in front of the gate. “Have we decided what to do with them?” The Official sounded disgusted as she pointed at the group of bystanders, the group which included me. Dressed in a loosely fitted, black lace dress, her haunting black eyes stood out against her fiery red hair, which fell down to her waist.
Just looking at her, it was rather easy to see that she wasn’t someone you’d want to deal with unless absolutely necessary. She had a cool demeanor about her, so I did my best to keep my distance.
Official Agnes wasn’t friendliest of the guards. She didn’t mind using her powers to cause pain to others – even though, technically, that was against the rules. Not that rules mattered much to her. She worked for the Command Center, she was an authoritative figure. She could very well do as she pleased.
And knowing that she would be in charge of our fate? It definitely wasn’t a comforting thought. Especially if it was Lucas Milfred that had been behind all of this. He was her family; she had every reason to care about him. But us? We were expendable.
Behind Official Agnes, I could hear the faint sound of footsteps approaching. Commander Willow Ford made his way out to the gathered crowd, never once saying a word as he motioned for us to follow him.
The residents were starting to gather in the city center and the Officials didn’t want to explain what had taken place. The quicker we were away from the scene, the better.
We followed in a line until we were taken into a dark room located beneath the Command Center. No one knew what was going on. We were just doing as we were told in hopes that it would ensure our safety.
Maybe it was wishful thinking, but none of us wanted to die.
Well, at least I didn’t.
Commander Willow Ford stopped suddenly upon reaching a large room, which was freezing and, for the most part, empty. He ordered us to take a seat at the monstrous metal table located in the center of the room. It was the only piece of furniture inside the room besides the matching chairs. As we took our seats at the table, guards started to come out from the side door making their way towards our group. Each of them took a position behind a resident.
We were not leaving anytime soon, that had quickly become apparent.
The Commander gave Official Agnes a nod, and they both made their way out of the room to discuss what action they planned on pursuing. We did not commit a crime. We were not criminals, but we had witnessed something that we were not meant to see. For that reason, we would be treated as criminals.
Up until now, no one had ever been banished from Lunica City for murder.
Sure, there were incidents where magic was misused, and residents were relocated to Ubiera, but this was different. This was something the Officials never had to deal with before. People did not just walk into the town center and murder innocent people. Not here.
I fiddled with my hands, counting each second as it passed by.
When Commander Willow and Official Agnes made their way back into the room, tension filled the air as we all awaited our fate. “The easiest way to handle this is to perform a simple spell.” The Commander smiled hoping to calm our fears. “It’s a fairly simple spell, one that will not hurt you. All we’re going to do is perform a memory cleanse.”
Could it actually be that easy? As long as we agreed to a memory cleanse, erasing our memories from earlier today, they would let us go? It seemed harmless enough, though I was sure that Official Agnes had nothing to do with the decision.
If the Official had her way, we'd all be six feet below.
Before lining us up to proceed with the memory cleanse, the Commander proceeded to see if we had any questions. One person asked who would be performing the spell. “Official Agnes will be performing the spell,” he responded. “She is better acquainted with it than the rest of us.”
You have got to be kidding, I thought. Images started to find their way into my mind: Official Agnes stood before me, using her powers to torture me. I could feel the blood rushing through my veins, my heart nearly beating out of my chest. Just the idea of being in a room, alone, with her was terrifying enough.
One by one, Official Agnes called us into the study. “Autumn Stone”, the Commander shouted. “You’re next, dear”.
Panic started to set in, and I wanted to run. I could not stop thinking I was about to walk into a torture trap. Against my will, I stood up and walked towards the study, occasionally glancing over my shoulder at the faces of those who remained seated at the table.
“Sit down.” Official Agnes had a sly smile on her face.
I nodded and lowered myself into the cold, metal chair. Overhead a small light hung, swaying ever so slightly above my head. “Relax. He is watching everything I do. Even if I wanted to hurt you, I would not be able to.” She smirked.
I knew it was a joke, but there was still a hint of a threat behind her words.
“What exactly are you going to do?” I asked.
“I’m just going to place this on your head.” She lowered a helmet onto my head. “And then I’ll recite a few words. It is quite simple.”
“Are you ready?” she asked. Her tone was harsh, cold.
I nodded, eager to be on my way.
Official Agnes took it upon herself to block my hearing with a quick spell. I could see her lips moving rapidly, but I could not make out a thing she was saying. My eyelids grew heavy with exhaustion. I could feel reality slowly falling away from me.
When I opened my eyes again, I was not sure what just occurred or why I was in a room with Official Agnes. She helped me out of the cold, metal chair I sat in, carefully grabbing a hold of my hand.
I looked at her, startled as she ushered me to the door of the study. As soon as we reached the door, she released my hand and turned back towards the chair. “You’re right.” I peered back at Official Agnes, confused as to what she could be talking about. “It was Lucas. And he is not finished yet, he will be back. He will be back soon.”
I tried to make sense of what she was saying, but I could not comprehend any of it. Who was Lucas, and why did Official Agnes tell me that I was right? How could I possibly be right when I didn't even have a clue as to what she was talking about? I looked back, my face brimming with confusion. Her dark eyes briefly met mine before I was escorted away by the guards.
I could hear the urgency in her words.
One that I did not understand.
My pulse rate started to escalate as I began to realize that something was clearly wrong. I could feel the panic of those sitting in the lobby. Their eyes were locked on me curiously as I walked out of the study. Why were they all here? Why was I here? “We must get going, miss,” one of the guards said, pulling on my wrist.
We headed down a small, poorly lit tunnel. The walls, made up of granite and brick, were covered in a light condensation. I looked around, expecting to find some sort of exit ahead, but there was nothing.
“May I ask your house number?” The guard looked at me waiting for an answer.
“460,” I whispered, knowing he would be able to hear me.
He turned to his right and pushed in a brick in the wall. The brick disappeared, and a lever appeared in its place. Upon the release of the lever, a silver plate began to form beneath my feet. I watched in horror as a plastic shield began to fall around me. “What is this?” I screamed out to the guards, but there was not enough time for an answer. The tunnel opened up above me, and the glass tube shot up, bringing me back to my bedroom as if nothing had happened.
“Autumn?” I could hear my mother approaching the door.
How long had I been gone, and did she notice? I was not sure what to tell her if she asked where I had been as I was not even entirely sure. I remembered waking up and heading over to Bryn’s house for training, everything after that was a blur.
“Autumn.” My mother knocked on my bedroom door.
“Come in,” I yelled, knowing that she would enter even with my permission.
I expected her to be worried or at least alarmed since I was not sure how long I’d actually been gone, but she wasn't. “How’d training go?” she asked. “What did the two of you end up working on?” She was smiling. For all she knew, I had actually attended practice with Bryn earlier today. The problem was that I was not sure if I had or not.
I did remember heading to Bryn’s for our weekly training session, but I did not remember making it there. What was I doing all morning and why could not I remember? I decided that lying would be my best option, assuming she would not try to read my thoughts. I did not need her to worry about me.
“Practice was good. We were supposed to work on manipulating elements, but Bryn had somewhere to be.” She did not seem to buy into what I was saying, so I decided to be a bit more specific. “But she helped me with my shield. I can extend it further without hesitation.”
I tried to keep my voice as calm as possible. Please do not ask me to show you, I thought. Unfortunately, I was not any better with my shield than I was when I left in the morning. Go figure.
My mother smiled at me, which was a comforting sign. She seemed to believe me. I hated lying to her, but I did not have a choice. What else was I supposed to tell her? Oh, I ended up in a room with Official Agnes for some reason and found myself in a glass tube being shot into my bedroom. No biggie. Yeah, the truth was probably not a brilliant idea. She leaned over and wrapped her arms around me. “I’m proud of you, Autumn. You are advancing so well!”
Her dark brown hair, which she wore half up and half down, stood out against her fair skin. Her blue eyes lit up as a smile formed on her lips. My mother was everything I hoped to become. She was a kind woman who always sought the best in people. I could feel a tear escaping from the corner of my eye as I thought about my mother, and how I aspired to be like her someday.
When she released me from her grasp, slowly making her way out of my room, I was glad. I knew that if she even so much as looked at me, I’d have to tell her the truth.
I waited a moment after my mother left to make sure I was truly alone.
As soon as I was sure she was gone, I teleported myself over to Bryn’s. If I could not remember what happened this morning, maybe she would be able to tell me. I stood in the middle of my room with my eyes closed.
I pictured Bryn’s house in my mind, a small red house located near the town center. I could feel my body entering the other realm before dropping me at Bryn’s. I knocked on the door, but there was no answer. “Bryn?” I called out, hoping she would respond, but there was nothing.
Bryn usually kept the door around the back open, so I headed towards the back of the house. But the door was locked. I turned around, ready to head home, and found Official Agnes Woods standing before me. She looked at me curiously. Her eyes were entirely white, drained of their usual pitch black coloring. “If it is Bryn Thomas you are in search of, I'm afraid she is gone.”
“And why should I believe you?” I asked, curious as to why Official Agnes would be here. Officials only left the Command Center when there was a problem to clean up, and Bryn was far from a problem.
She looked at me with a crooked smile stretching upon her lips. “True. You have absolutely no reason to trust me, but for once, I’m not lying to you dear. Bryn truly is gone, and that is all you can know, for now.”
Before I could ask anything else Official Agnes, too, was gone.