Amber Sky (C.O.I.L.S of Copper and Brass #1)
Genre: Dystopian Steampunk
Release Date: June 2nd 2017
“You thought I did this out of the goodness of my heart?” He gave a short mirthless laugh. “Not a bit of it, this is going to be dangerous for me. What are you offering for my help?”
Beneath the Amber Sky, the nobility control the food, education, and the mysterious C.O.I.L.S of Copper and Brass. To Tay, struggling to keep her siblings alive, the ideas of rebellion and freedom are distant and unreachable.
But when her father is arrested, she begs Darius James, the son of the Overseer, to save his life. Darius agrees, but his help costs her a favour, one he can call in at any time.
Darius’ favour will bring her to the Palace, and the perfect position to help the growing rebellion. But the court has games beyond anything she has seen before, and Darius’ secrets will add to the danger.
Tay is now able to make a difference, to join the rebellion, find the C.O.I.L.S and discover the secrets of the Amber Sky. All she has to do is survive.
etched in gilt, the full-length mirror gleamed slightly in the light. With a
sigh, Tay stepped forward. Her image swam into focus, and she took a step back,
startled at the reflection she saw before her. The slightly timid house maid
had vanished, replaced by some richly dressed stranger. The deep crimson dress
fitted in all the right places, and the rustling taffeta held a glossy sheen
which glowed beneath the lights. Small clusters of jet and crystal were
stitched across the bodice and full skirt, and they glittered as the light
turning her attention to her hair. The dark locks had been twisted into a mass
of corkscrew curls and pinned to the crown of her head beneath of jet and
silver fascinator. Her makeup had been lightly applied, and her face almost
vanished beneath the magnificence of the dress.
voice. “And not at all like yourself.” She walked
forward and brushed an imaginary bit of dust from the back of the dress. “Now you’d
better get going.” She stepped back and jumped slightly as Tay flung
her arms about her.
donned, she felt somewhat better about the whole situation. Despite the
slightly underfed cast to her appearance, the dress altered her entire façade. Visions of
immediately being denounced as an imposter began to fade as she stepped back,
and headed for the living room. She pushed open the door and stopped at the
sight of Darius sitting in one of the chairs. As the door swung
open, he jumped to his feet. Tay was gratified to note that his mouth opened
slightly in shock as he took in her appearance. A moment of stunned silence
fell over the pair of them as each regarded the other. Darius had also dressed
for dinner, and Tay ran her eyes across his elegant garb in stupefied appraisal. He
had been handsome before, but now, she closed her mouth as she realised that
she was staring.
Goodreads Book Giveaway
by Claire Warner
See the giveaway details
Within the coils of copper and brass, there is a chance of freedom:
Anonymous writer (date unknown)
It was November, and soot-laden fog obscured her progress as Tay strode along the busy street. A chill wind kept the smog moving and nipped at her exposed skin. She was grateful for the shifting whiteness: it kept away curious eyes, and gave her a sense of freedom. The Factory was ahead, belching clouds of smoke and steam into the air, choking the lines of workers that queued outside. She averted her eyes and kept going. Thoughts of the Factory led to thoughts of the Mine, and she could not allow that. The work site fell behind her as she began to move uphill, away from the choking smog of the Factory District, and towards the Mercantile District. The traffic thinned out as her feet carried her through the cold, whispering quiet. The crowds were lighter here and better dressed. In contrast to their well-heeled fashions, Tay looked like an old sack. Several threadbare garments covered her body, and a moth-eaten, woollen hat was jammed down on her chestnut-coloured hair. Her boots were held together with twine, and stuffed with rags to keep the cold at bay. Despite her efforts to layer her ragged clothing, the wind still found its way to her skin, making her shiver. As she headed into the district, the fog shielded her from prying eyes and made her progress easier. Moving along the well-paved roads of the Merchant District with the elusiveness of a wild thing, she avoided the few traders that braved the cold, speeding up as she approached her destination.
The house was built from white stone, now discoloured from the ubiquitous soot. On the faded, cherry-coloured door, a brass knocker in the shape of a lion warned her off with what she fancied was a contemptuous gaze. For a long moment, she stared at the wood, wondering at the wisdom of what she was attempting. Lars and Cody could have been wrong, and this trip could easily land her in the cells. As the ever-present wind chapped her lips, she mustered her resolve. All other options had been exhausted, and this was all she had left. Taking a deep breath, she grasped the knocker with one shaking hand before letting it fall. For several moments, she waited on the doorstep, shifting uneasily from one foot to the other, nervous beyond thought.
The door creaked open, and a maid stared down at her with unconcealed distaste. Tay nervously wet her lips and opened her mouth to speak.
“No beggars.” The maid spoke first, her voice shrill with strident condemnation, as she took in Tay’s attire. Confident in her dismissal, she moved to close the door.
“No, wait.” Tay placed her foot in the hall, and leant forward. The maid stopped moving, distaste morphing into shock. “I need to speak to Darius…” Despite her best efforts, Tay’s voice still shook. “Please.” The woman stared down at her with disbelief, incredulous at her audacity to ask to see the Master’s son.
“I don’t think so.” The woman began pushing the door shut, shoving Tay’s fragile frame off the doorstep with its weight. Tay held her ground, trying to keep the door open.
“Please…” She pleaded once more, her voice echoing loudly in the hallway. Panic thrummed through her as she became aware of the spectacle she was creating. One complaint from any of the people on the street behind her and the guards would come. “I need to see him.” It was a desperate, yearning plea, yet the maid was having none of it. The door jammed against her toes, and she winced. The maid was winning the battle, her far stronger, well-fed, bulky frame inching Tay closer to the street.
“What’s going on?” A male voice echoed across the hall, and the maid stopped.
“It’s this beggar, Sir.” The woman held the door steady as she turned to face the speaker. “She wishes to talk to you.” Her voice was sneering, only slightly mollified by deference to her master.
“Let me see.” The man walked forward, and the maid reluctantly released her hold on the door. Tay’s eyes roved across the man before her as he came into view, starting at his well-shod feet, and travelling upward. A well-tailored, dark blue suit framed a lean body, and a cane of some dark wood lay carelessly in his hands. Casting her gaze upwards, she stared directly into a pair of deep-blue eyes, which were alight with interest.
“I need to see you, Darius,” She appealed directly to him, holding his gaze with silent entreaty. She ignored the scandalised tut of the maid as she took a step forward. “It’s important.”
Darius thought for a moment before he nodded. “Let her in,” He said to the maid, stepping back along the hall. With a look of shock on her features, the woman stepped away from the door and let Tay into the house.
Heat enveloped her as she stepped off the street, and followed Darius’ beckoning finger. The maid closed the door behind her as she slowly crossed the hall towards a door on the left. Her eyes drifted across the panelled space, awed by the luxury she saw. Dominated by a sweeping staircase, the hallway was decorated in shades of gold and blue. A heavy chandelier, festooned with lights, swung from the ceiling, and it was blissfully, wonderfully warm.
“Come on girl,” Tay’s head snapped back to the doorway, and she almost tripped over her own feet, as she hastened towards the sitting room. A fire blazed in a large hearth, filling the room with a cosy light. Above the mantel, a gilt-framed mirror reflected her scared and lost face. Several comfortable-looking couches lay about the room, and a variety of expensive knick-knacks were arranged on a wooden cabinet against the left wall. Intimidated, she looked around at the luxuriant surroundings and swallowed nervously.
“Warm yourself up.” Darius indicated the roaring fire, and she stepped before it gratefully, feeling the heat radiate across her cold skin. “Emma.” He turned to the maid. “Can you find me some old clothes?” With a sour look on her face, Emma nodded. As soon as she had left, Darius turned back to the room. “Now that she’s gone,” He said as he walked forward. “Why don’t you tell me what you want?”
Taya bit her lip and fidgeted. What had seemed like a good idea in the safety of her home, now felt like insanity. She glanced at him, noticing the arrogant cast to his features and the surety of his gaze. He was handsome, she realised with a jolt. Beneath a shock of black hair, deep blue eyes stared out at her with disconcerting directness.
“My name’s Taya, and…” She stopped, wondering how she could continue with her request.
“And?” He encouraged, noticing her hesitation. “I can’t help you if you don’t ask.”
“My father has just been sent to the mines,” She said quickly, watching the realisation cross his face.
“I see,” He noted softly, staring at her with interest. “And?”
“He already has a weak heart,” She found herself saying. “The mines will kill him.”
“I fancy that’s the idea,” He uttered, reaching for a glass of amber liquid that lay on the mantel, and took a sip. “What do you expect me to do about it?”
“” Her eyes flicked up to meet Tay’s, and a frown creased her features. “How did you manage to draw a servant’s ration?” Tay froze in fear as the woman glanced at the guards stationed at the sides of the room. With quick steps, two of the guards moved into place on either side of her and caught hold of her upper arms.
“What’s wrong?” Tay tried to sound unconcerned, but her voice came out as a small squeak. She should have known that the Centre staff would recognise her family name. The woman did not answer but nodded to the guards. Tay felt her stomach sink as they pulled her upright. “I haven’t done anything,” she called out as they dragged her across the floor, hands clamped about her upper arms like steel. The few other patrons of the centre stared down at the floor, ignoring her panicked voice and expression. Struggling vainly against their grip, Tay was dragged towards one of the small interrogation rooms. The guards pushed her through the door, into a small, claustrophobia-inducing, room. Rough hands thrust her into a chair, and she cried out as her elbow smashed against the arm. Both guards ignored her squeal of pain as they took positions on either side. Bulky, and solid with muscle, the guards discouraged any effort to escape. She swallowed nervously as she looked at the empty chair before her. Why had she not anticipated this? The centre controllers would know her father’s name and realise that she wasn’t entitled to the position that she now held.