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AMBER SKY is the first prequel novella preceding the adventurous steampunk horror tale CRIMSON SKY, and tells the story of Nash before he joined the Dauntless Wanderer when his only means of survival was to fight to the death, and how he was forced to make a choice that would change his life forever…
Press-ganged into servitude by a ruthless band of marauders who survived the devastating Storm, Nash has grown tired of his career– the young, undefeated champion of the Stray Dog fighting pits. All he longs for is a place to live where his family is not his enemy.
When his captain gives him an assignment to embed him deeper into the crew, Nash attempts to refuse, until the life of his friend is threatened. Determined to save her, Nash embarks on the mission to subjugate and control a supplier. But the supplier has other clients, one of which could be the son of the most feared pirate captain in all of Westraven.
And if Nash plays his cards right, the key to his deeply desired freedom, if he can live with the consequences of his choice…
Set two years before the events of CRIMSON SKY, this prequel novella tells the story of how Nash and Sawyer crossed paths– and fists. While best enjoyed before reading CRIMSON SKY, this bonus story can be read at any time or enjoyed as a standalone.
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AMBER SKY is set two years before the first novel in the DARK SKY series, CRIMSON SKY, and is told from the perspective of the Dauntless Wanderer’s quartermaster, Nash. It delves into his life when he was a pit-fighter for Ryland, the ruthless leader of the Stray Dogs, and tells the strange story of how he met Sawyer, his future friend and captain. Their friendship was forged out of hard-won battles and trust, both young men taking risks and fighting for something greater and more meaningful.
The fight couldn’t have been going worse.
I got that Ryland wanted his champion in the Crater. I got that he wanted to give the Runts and the Dogs a show. I even got that he wanted to push me so I’d stronger, faster, better.
But I didn’t get why he had to pick the two biggest, meanest bastards from the crew to fight me. Two men who wouldn’t stop beating me until I was just a red stain on the ground. The taunts and advice from the crowd over our head didn’t help either.
“Crush ‘em, Nash!”
“Come on, Stanner!”
“Hit him, Dylan, hit him!”
“Nash is costing me bets! Someone kill him already!”
Being the Crater’s reigning champ definitely had its drawbacks.
Stanner moved along the edge of my vision. He lifted his foot, ready to drive it into my head and crush my skull. I rolled, grabbed his foot, and pulled. Stanner barked angrily as he lost his balance and landed hard on the ground. I crunched up and slammed my heel into his chest. There was a loud crack that made Stanner cry out in pain, and gave me a chance to–
If Dylan hadn’t shouted his rage, I never would have known he was coming. He snapped a kick down at my head. I crossed my arms and blocked him, gritting my teeth as his shinbone connected with the bruises on my arms.
I pushed his foot away and blocked the punch that sailed toward my head. I surged to my feet and pushed Dylan back. He swung a fist at my skull. I ducked under it and plowed into him. Dylan might have more muscle than me in this two-on-one brawl, but I wasn’t small or helpless.
The moment he hit the ground, I hammered blows onto him.
Skin bruised and split under my knuckles. Bones crunched and cracked. I didn’t stop when his eyes swelled shut. I’m not sure I would have stopped at all if a thick forearm hadn’t wrapped around my throat and tightened.
I clutched the arm and tried to yank it off, but the hold was good. Wasn’t long before my lungs started to burn. Punches started smashing into my battered ribs, each one harder than the last. Weakening me. Keeping me from fighting back.
But my sight was red. I lost control when I got Dylan on the ground. It was out of my reach now.
And I didn’t want it back.
Growling like an animal, I bent my knees and jumped back, letting myself fall onto the ground. Crushing Stanner beneath me. He screamed as my weight pounded on his fractured chest. The arm around my neck was gone.
Then I rolled off him, and really started the beating.
Stanner couldn’t move. Probably couldn’t breathe. None of that stopped me from kicking and stomping every part of him I laid eyes on. He tried to kill me. Would have killed me.
Should have known better.
I stopped. He called my name, shouted it at the top of his lungs. The rest of the crowd fell silent. This probably wasn’t the first time he’d shouted at me.
I looked over my shoulder, lifted my eyes from the wide dirt pit, and found Ryland.
He was impossible to miss, nearly twice as big as me, despite his age. Broad shoulders and swollen biceps strained against his black leather vest. With long grey hair hanging to his shoulders and a wild grey beard, Ryland looked every bit as rabid as the snarling dog tattooed on his chest.
He stood on the rim of the Crater, staring at me with piercing grey eyes. A scowl twisted his weathered face, slowly turning into a smug grin.
“Congratulations,” he said for the crowd to hear. He looked at the rugged Dogs and the filthy Runts. “Let’s hear it for Nash, still the undefeated Crater champion!”
Most of the crowd roared with joy. Others booed. I was too tired to care about which I appreciated more.
A rope ladder was rolled over the edge of the Crater. Before I went to it, I looked back at my opponents. Now that the rage was gone from my vision, I could clearly see what I had done.
Dylan was still lying in a heap, his face red, swollen, and lumped from bruises and broken bones. Stanner groaned and winced, rolling on the ground with his hands wrapped around his ribs and chest as if to hold his bruised and likely broken bones inside his skin.
Horror filled my chest, the way it always did when I finished a fight in the Crater. Crushing shame filled my heart and drowned me. I took a couple steps closer to Stanner, wanting to help him.
He cringed at the sight of me.
I stopped and glanced over my shoulder at my captain. He was waiting impatiently. As far as Ryland was concerned, anyone beaten in the Crater didn’t need help from the Dogs. Until they proved otherwise, they were beneath us. Weak and useless.
I grabbed the rope ladder and climbed from the Crater, my victory feeling more hollow with every step.
About The Author
Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.
She has short stories in various horror and urban fantasy anthologies such as Call From The Grave, Hotel Hell, Survivalism in The Dead Walk: Volume 2, Dismantle in The Steam Chronicles, Lost Sky in Avast, Ye Airships!, Secret Suicide in That Hoodoo, Voodoo, That You Do, Bring Back The Hound in Stomping Grounds, Charlatan Charade in Lost in the Witching Hour, and her award winning short Dark Intentions And Blood in AMOK!
More From Amy Braun
DEMON’S DAUGHTER | DARK DIVINITY | DAMNATION’S DOOR
STANDALONE NOVELS AND NOVELLAS
PATH OF THE HORSEMAN
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