Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Team Armonk or Team Blane? Plus the tour & epic giveaway continues!

One of my favorite posts I created for the Ruby's Fire Tour is about the love triangle Ruby's tangled up in. Ruby encounters Armonk the night she runs to The Greening, a strange boarding school in Skull’s Wrath, and their interchange is not so friendly. Armonk has shiny black hair that he braids like the part Native American that he is. He’s traveled to the desert to find Dr. Varik and ask if he’ll make a prosthetic leg, after his own burned up as a child. Ruby meets Blane next, already a student at the school. He’s ruggedly handsome, with a smattering of honey freckles and massive shoulders, but he’s a hardscrabble bully. After all, he saw his family drown years ago and he’s since closed his heart.
Team Armonk or Team Blane-which one are you on?

       Hard crunches explode by my right ear—a wild beast charging? I snap upright. And see it. A large human in an iguana skin suit with an arrow pointed straight at my heart.
        “Hey!” I cry. No!”
       The owner of the arrow steps forward. He grazes the sharp tip against my forehead above my molded burn mask. The guy’s dark eyes blaze out at me from his own mask. The little I see of his exposed skin is bronzed and his long black hair gleams even under this dank tarp. Despite his fierce gaze, he doesn’t shoot the arrow. “Lift your mask,” he orders.

       I’m absorbed in collecting more leaves when heavy footsteps crunch up ahead, and I hear fast, labored breathing. Blane appears through the crimson foliage in front of me with an armful of Fireseed.
       He puts it down and brushes off his hands. “So, what’s your story, your real story?”
       “I don’t know what you mean.”
       “Why did you leave your compound for this place?” he asks.
       I shrug. There’s no way I’d tell him about Stiles, or any other details of my life. Would he tell me his? “Why did you leave your home?”
       “That was a long time ago,” he declares.
       “Where was it?”
       “East Coast Sector, near New York. I went to a reputable school, where the kids had money, good families.” Blane kicks at a stone. When he looks back at me, his gaze radiates the pain of people and things long gone.

       The Fireseed compound, that was years ago, wasn’t it? Whoosh, goes the warm rag, whoosh. With all of my strength I raise my lids to the halfway point, and make out a young man’s deeply tanned face with leaf tattoos on high cheekbones, a resolute chin. Ah, yes! It’s Armonk. And I’m lying in a bed of wrinkled sheets smelling of sour sweat. I start to raise myself on my elbows. God, the deep ache in my throat and lungs!
       With a gentle hand, he guides me back down. “Shh, you’ve been sick, take it easy, Ruby.”
My voice creaks out. “Sick? How long have I been out? Tell me… Armonk.”
“A week and a day,” he says, as he sweeps across my brow with the warm, damp rag.

        “Someone saw you get high. Do you?” he asks me.
  “No!” Oblivion is for deleting. “What vice do you have?” I add, in an echo of Bea’s sentiment from the other night.
       He laughs as he presses forward, crushing more Fireseed saplings. “Being too good at playing bodyguard.”
       “What’s that mean?” That he’s more violent than I’ve already witnessed?
       “It means I take my job very seriously.” His brows knit in a way that chills me.
I’m tempted to ask him if he’s ever killed anyone, but I’m not sure I could handle the answer. With his massive biceps, trunk-like limbs and giant’s hands he could squeeze the life out of someone without even trying.

       His frequent smile reveals perfect white teeth against touchable mahogany skin. I blush inside to have these thoughts, and to be keyed up to spend time with him, as he steers the vessel out of the hanger and guides it to the runway. It reminds me of when my dad and I went on hunting junkets, of how precious our time was together.

       I press him. “Why do you always stare at me from the window? Why do you ask me questions with your eyes and not your mouth? What do you want with me, huh?”
       He stands his ground, his boots planted apart. His silent confidence angers me.
       “I asked you what you wanted. Do you want to kiss me? Huh?” I ask with more fury than I intended.

Armonk & Blane:
       By this time, Blane has caught up to us. We stop in awkward hesitation as we regard him. Am I the one who feels awkward, or is it Blane? His eye is blackening and the skin under it is torn from where Stiles got in one lousy punch. But it’s Blane’s expression that tears me up.
       “Thanks,” I tell him. I loosen myself from Armonk’s firm arm and gingerly test my weight on my sore ankle. It feels wrong to lean on Armonk right now with Blane staring at me, a hungry, lonely look in his eye. It’s as if he’s never been hugged, never been fed, never been loved, as if the sight of Armonk touching me, even just to help me limp along injures him. “Thanks,” I tell Blane again. “I really mean that. That man would’ve killed me if I’d gone back.”
       Blane only grunts, before forging ahead and beating us into the house.

Below are this week's stops on the Ruby's Fire Tour. Links go live on the day of. And the Rafflecopter is open to win big prizes, including a Kindle! To see the entire tour lineup, click here.

August 7th
Feed Your Fiction Addiction >> Review
alwaysjoart >>  Excerpt/Special Sneak Peek

August 8th
Donna Galanti >>  Post: Extreme Beauty-Pleasure, Power, Peril

August 9th
FlutterealFlight >>  Review
Rally the Readers >> Review of Ruby's Fire, and BONUS review of Fireseed One

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. You want me to choose? Um. Chocolate or chocolate, please?

    Or is this more like muenster vs mozzarella?

  2. I fell in love with Armonk back in Fireseed he gets my vote.

  3. Yes, Armonk is the sweet, thoughtful guy... I like Blane too--he's too strong and take charge for his own good sometimes.

  4. I don't know. I have to read the whole novel, but clever you for putting in a love triangle. :)

    Will read soon. It's on my list!

  5. Thanks, LG. Kelly, it's within your rights to like both guys, and Crystal, it's sort of like dark chocolate with crunchy almonds or milk chocolate with sweet caramel...

  6. You do make it hard to choose! Now I'm thinking chocolate reading these comments. Mmmm...

  7. Both guys are sexy and exciting, so it's hard to choose. I'll choose Armonk. I don't really know why ... just a feeling. Aren't love triangles fun! :-)

  8. Yes, love triangles are spicy to write, and read about.

  9. Three for Armonk--wow! Any Team Blane's?

  10. Decisions. Decisions. Armonk, I think, though Blane sounds appealing too. :)

  11. Three for Armonk--wow! Any Team Blane's?

  12. I hate having to choose though! They both sound good. And love triangles add so much tension. I love them.

  13. Me too, Geishakitten, and it's super-fun writing them!

  14. Team Blane, for sure. From what I can tell, he's a strong silent type. I like it. :)

  15. answering the rafflecopter question about what I like about sci-fi:
    I love haw you can be taken to impossible places and have interactions with beings from a new perspective. Everything is unknown and new, unexplored and limitless, there are no rules.
    8) Michelle Hofacker