(The Atlas Series Book 1)
by Becca C. Smith
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Red Frog Publishing
Date of Publication: 11/14/13
Cover Artist: Stephan Fleet
Kala Hicks is part of a covert elite military team that answers directly to the President of the United States. But during an emergency mission aboard Air Force One, Kala is shocked to discover that the real threat is none other than the President himself. Defying her commanding officer, Jack Norbin, Kala takes the shot, and her life changes forever.
The moment the President is killed, a supernatural force speaks to Kala, telling her that she has to commit one act of atrocity every four days… or the world will end. Thrown into a reality she never could have imagined, Kala faces off with creatures of legend; from demons determined to make her fail and plunge the Earth into chaos, to angels who don’t trust her to do the job and are willing to kill her to claim it for themselves.
Pitted against the forces of good and evil, Kala must choose whether to save the world by doing the unthinkable, or sit back and let it burn. And four days later, she’ll have to do it again.
End of Chapter 3
Very carefully, Jack opened the door that led to the President’s office.
What awaited them was terrifying.
President Jareth Wilton stood behind his desk. He was wearing a vest that held five grey bars of C-4 wired into a bomb. Wilton was a tall man, well over six feet with stark black hair and a long face. He was a young President, only fifty years old, but he looked like he’d aged twenty years since the last time Kala had seen him at a press conference, with dark rings under his eyes and worry lines on his forehead.
But his smile was what made the scene surreal and horrific. His thin lips were grinning as if he’d just climbed Mt. Everest.
President Wilton stared directly at Jack as the door swung open the rest of the way. “I figured it out! I figured out how to break it! No one will ever have to do what I’ve had to do again! Do you realize what this means?”
Kala knew then and there that the man was cracked. Figured what out? Break what? He was rambling like a mad man.
But the more frightening moment came when Jack responded back to Wilton. “Killing yourself is impossible. People have tried that in the past.”
Not only was President Wilton talking crazy, but apparently Jack knew his language and was responding accordingly.
Kala noticed that Wilton’s eyes lit up when Jack spoke. “You’re the one they sent to replace me.”
What? Kala was seriously confused.
Kala spoke up, “What’s going on Jack?”
Replace him for what?
Jack didn’t acknowledge Kala or the rest of the team, which was shifting uncomfortably behind him.
Wilton shook his head, serious. “You can’t do it. You have to let me detonate this bomb. We have to crash the plane! It’s the only way to stop it!”
“You can’t stop it!” Jack yelled back.
“I can and I will!” Wilton talked into an earpiece. “NOW!”
The plane nose-dived.
Everyone jolted forward and stumbled from the force of it.
Jack barked orders, “Lali get up to the Flight Deck and by any means necessary take over this plane!”
Lali paused for a second, she looked more confused than Kala felt, but after a moment to gain her bearings as the plane was falling fast, she managed to high-tail it out of the room and up to the Flight Deck.
Kala was sure they’d hit ground at any moment.
Jack aimed his gun at the President’s head.
Wilton was frantic. He ducked behind his large oak desk that was bolted to the ground.
“You can’t kill me! You’ll ruin everything!” Wilton yelled.
Jack turned to Kala and Derek. “No one shoots him but me!”
Kala kind of nodded, but she was in shock at the fact that they were about to flatten a part of the capital with Air Force One. She really didn’t care what Jack was saying. She couldn’t let President Wilton set off that bomb and kill thousands.
Jack shot at the desk, trying to hit the president, but he didn’t come close.
Only Kala could make a shot like that and not get them all killed from shooting a hole through the plane.
Kala and Derek made eye contact. Kala could tell Derek was thinking the same thing. He whispered so only Kala could hear, “Do it.”
Kala’s nod was barely perceptible.
Jack saw her and his eyes went wide. “Kala STOP!”
Kala shrugged. “I can’t let him do this, Jack. I’m sorry.”
Only the top of Wilton’s head was showing.
It was enough.
Kala took her shot.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
Immortality. It worked for Captain Jack Harkness! Of course I’d want all my friends and family to have this same superpower too. It wouldn’t be any fun without loved ones!
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Fan mail. It still blows my mind that people would not only read my books, but like them enough to write me a personal message. It makes all the blood, sweat and tears worth it!
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
If you love a good action/urban fantasy with a mixture of gods, demons and angels all set in present day, you’ll love Atlas.
Chocolate, chocolate and chocolate. Oh, did I mention I love chocolate!
What book are reading now?
Beautiful Darkness, the second book in the Caster Chronicles, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
What’s your favorite season/weather?
I live in LA where there are no seasons so that should tell you something! I love a perfectly sunny 75 degree day. But when I’m about to snuggle up with a good book and a cup of tea, I’d prefer torrents of rain. I was born and raised in Seattle after all!
What was your favorite children's book?
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I was pretty obsessed with finding my own door to Narnia! Someday!
Beach or Pool?
If I’m actually sitting and relaxing definitely a pool. (I hate sand.) But if it’s from a luxurious hotel balcony with fancy drinks, beach all the way.
What is one book everyone should read?
I’m going to go with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Pure magic. And everyone needs a little magic in their lives.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I’m actually really excited about the project I’m currently working on. It’s a joint novel with a fellow writer friend of mine F. M. Sherrill. It’ll be more geared towards teens and vampire fans and I’m having a blast writing it with her. Hopefully, it’ll be released by spring!
Becca currently lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband, Stephan and their two cats Jack and Duke.
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