Unbalanced, Book 1
The Order, more violent than any regime, more secret than any society, and more ruthless than any empire is on the hunt...again.
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Every generation four sisters with power over earth, air, fire, and water are born to fight against a fanatical, secret faith. The Order exists only to sacrifice the sisters for their power. With each success, their strength and control grows. The Order has never failed, for their rule depends on it.
The sisters, separated at birth, are unaware of what hunts them...but they are coming.
A handsome stranger discovers Asha in hiding and swears allegiance to her cause. She falls for him; though he is not who he says he is.Betrayed and imprisoned inside the Order, Asha is without her fire power for the first time in her life.
As the war heats, haunting secrets and true motivations are revealed, but the sisters must unite and override their instincts and trust the untrustworthy if they are to fight their terrifying destiny.
Ringing buzzed in Asha’s ears, it sounded so far away but grew louder. Helicopter rotors coming closer. She groaned, rolling and grasping her throbbing head. A dart plunged into the ground an inch from her face, raising ash in a cloud. She jolted up, naked and dusted with gray soot; even her boots had burned away. She squinted against the glaring sun.
How long had she been out? Where was she?
This couldn’t be the jungle, not even scorched tree trunks remained on the blackened, flattened wasteland. She couldn’t fully grasp the range. It resembled the aftermath of an atomic blast. All evidence of her crime had been erased.
What have you done?
Father Sean leaned out of his helicopter above, harnessed in and aiming his second shot. Heatbubbled, and she clenched her body until she shook. The weapon in his hand said it all. He was handling her.
No way, not this time.
With narrowed eyes and a teeth-baring snarl, she leapt to her feet. He’d used the tranquilizer before, but never when she wasn’t in full panic mode. This was the aftermath, and he was familiar enough with her power to recognize when she was spent, yet he was still taking precautions. She threw her hands into the air, her fingers stretching for her target, and drawing her power. Fire shot out in a weak stream, but the helicopter veered away, and her flame failed to cover the distance. She tried again, but it traveled only half as far.
“Come back, you coward!” She was out of juice; her power was gone for the next hour or two.
She looked down at the sword, buried in ash. The rubies sparkled bright beneath the gray dust. Grasping it, Asha sprinted over the burned, blackened ground while scanning the horizon for the jungle. The blast perimeter was visible in the distance, and she pumped her legs harder. Their camp lay safe beyond but was littered with debris and covered in more ash.
Father Sean had taken the weapons but left their tents. Her hands still shook, and her stomach rolled as she yanked on jeans and another black hoodie. There was no way he would just sit back and allow her to escape; he would be after her even now. She craned her neck, searching the trees for snipers waiting to contain her. It wouldn’t be the first time.
With her gear on her back, she shook herself to clear her mind. One step at a time. Stay focused on the next step, nothing more. She urged her legs to move and jogged along the rough trail they’d carved out the night before.
Coming up on the military road, she ran parallel with it until she spotted the first roadblock.
The three boys were distracted, playing a card game with bullets and cigarettes for their currency. As boy soldiers do, they were dressed up like Rambo, complete with the tough-guy scowls only teens can master so well. But she could see those sad, devastated eyes, with no innocence left…
Goddammit, sometimes life was really unfair. She drew her gun and whispered curses for what she had to do. She crept from the jungle. They continued their game as she took position. She cleared her throat, and they froze, all reaching for their forgotten guns.
“No!” Asha shouted halting them.
She gestured for them to sit and hold their hands in front of them. The scowls never left the boys’ faces as she restrained them with plastic zip ties and covered their mouths with tape. Taking their guns and tossing them into the jeep, she climbed into the front seat. Keys hung from the ignition. Perfect.
The boys’ eyes widened, and she turned her head just a moment too late. A man, most likely the boys’ handler, lunged from the bushes. Before she could draw her gun or even duck away, he’d grasped her by the hair and slammed her head into the steering wheel. Her nose crunched and broke as he smashed her face again. Blood meant nothing, but the blurring tears could get her killed in an instant. He yanked her head back again until her neck strained. Metal flashed before her. Knife.
He swung the blade around, and like the beat of a steady drum, time slowed on two counts. He was going to cut her throat. Still too drained to use her power, she wished her panic would rise and bring fire rushing back, but her emotions were never more calm or stable than during a fight. Soldier mode.
She thrust out her palm, and the knife clattered to the jeep’s dash. Grasping the thick forearm still tangled in her hair, she yanked it forward and pulled his elbow down over her shoulder. The pleasing crack was followed by his muffled grunt and her release.
Time kicked back in but moving too fast now, like a runaway roller coaster, a spinning merry-go-round. She twisted and kicked out. Macabre shivers of glee tickled through her at the sound of more crunching bones when her feet connected with his face. Blood spurted from his nose, and he crumpled in a heap. She leapt from the jeep and landed on the ground before he could rise.
His knife gone, he aimed a pistol, but her boot clipped it, knocking it away as he squeezed the trigger.
Too late. She jumped, stretching back into a handspring, dodging the bullet’s unknown trajectory. Landing unscathed, she launched forward, her vision brimming red and teeth grinding, and kicked him in the balls. She spun, catching his face with a roundhouse kick and he fell back.
She crouched and slammed his head into the ground. He was disgusting, repulsive, and evil, and she had no qualms about her actions. Putting scum like this to death was going to be a pleasure. Warm blood splattered her face and poured through her fingers, but she carried on until she expelled her guilt and fury, and the roaring stopped and her vision cleared. She sat back for three panting breaths.
Back in the driver’s seat, adrenaline pulsed. She shook and jerked, but paused before reaching for the keys. She took the knife from the dash and tossed it to land beside the boy closest to her.
His brows rose over eyes as wide as sand dollars, and though his friends’ expressions were hooded and suspicious, he could’ve been smiling under the tape covering his mouth. She gave him a wink, started the jeep, and sped down the dirt road.