30 May 2019

Check Out This Excerpt from the North to Nara Blog Tour

North to Nara Synopsis:

Neve Hall has always admired the good works of the civil servants who brought prosperity back to the Nation. She especially respects the Sufferers—empaths who, with the help of technology, anonymously bear others’ troubles for them. But when her assigned empath is abruptly retired, she uncovers certain secrets. Like the identity of her new Sufferer, Micah Ward... and the fact that behind his kind smile is a life filled with loneliness and pain. 

The closer Neve grows to Micah, the more desperate she becomes to protect him from a cruel and gruesome fate. But in a world where only a few are allowed the luxury of love, saving Micah comes with a price: Neve must choose between her loyalty to the Nation or her heart—a decision that will take them both on a race for their freedom, and their lives.


“It’s you,” he murmurs, studying my face. “I thought it was you—on the trolley, when you looked at me.”
A wave of panic begins to drown me. He must think I’m stalking him—that I’m strange, maybe even dangerous. I bite my lip and struggle for words. Then, I decide to claim innocence. It’s my only defense at this point.
“I don’t understand,” I say. “What do you mean?”
“You’re Neve.”
He says my name, and I can only gape in disbelief. It’s not just me knowing his identity after all—somehow, Micah Ward also knows mine. He grasps my arm, gently but firmly, and he pulls me aside, out of the view of passersby and into a quiet corner behind a founder’s statue. I follow him willingly, without question—I’d follow him just about anywhere, I find myself thinking.
“You know who I am, don’t you?” he asks. “And I recognize you from your pain. I saw you—just in an abstract—but I saw you when you transferred your sadness about what happened to Levi at the Center.”
I squirm uncomfortably. He knows everything. He knows how I feel about him—that I admire him and am attracted to him. I’ve heard before that abstract images sometimes transfer, along with the feelings, while Suffering. They’re said to be like reflections of our self-image, buried in our thoughts. But I never expected the scenes to be clear enough that my Sufferer might recognize me.
“Yes, it’s me—I’m one of your Sieves,” I admit. “You don’t have to worry about the anonymity laws, though—I’m on my way to tell Isla that I broke the rules and need to be reassigned again.”
But Micah’s eyes flash with sudden urgency and desperation. “No, please don’t tell Isla—not yet, at least.”
My eyebrows wrinkle. This isn’t the reaction I expected, one of the Nation’s most highly regarded servants asking me to break the law for him. “Why?”
“The director of the Center is already considering disciplinary action against me for how I helped the traitor at the Commons— and how I said he deserves a second chance. This will make it worse.”
I step back, startled. “Disciplinary action? For treating a man with decency when no one else would?” It’s surprising, maybe even illogical—Micah was only being true to his role as an empath.
Frowning, he nods. “It wouldn’t have been a problem if that man hadn’t been a traitor. He tried to kill people. Years ago, he was part of a plot to bomb the Governor’s Hall. They didn’t succeed, which is why he wasn’t formally expelled, I guess…I didn’t know that when I helped him and said the things I did.”
“Would it have changed anything, if you’d known?” I ask softly.
He hesitates. “No, probably not…” he admits. He avoids eye contact like he’s afraid the truth will disgust me, just as it did his director.
Except it’s not disgust that I feel, hearing this. It’s awe.

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About Amanda Marin:

When Amanda was a child, her father traveled frequently for business, always bringing her back a book as a present. Whether she was getting lost in the pages of a tale about far-away knights, girls with supernatural powers, or kindly giants, she was quickly hooked on stories.

Over the years, Amanda has followed her own yellow brick road of reading and writing, and although her adventures haven't involved sword fights or saving the planet from certain annihilation, they have involved jobs in scholarly publishing and marketing, a modest amount of travel, and a lifelong love of novels.

Amanda holds degrees in English from Salve Regina University and Boston College. Her favorite things include Starbucks lattes, lazy summer afternoons at the beach, and books with characters that make you go "awww." She lives in New Hampshire with her family and furbaby, Snickers the Poodle.

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