(Unbinding Fate Book One)
by Colee Firman
Addison Sanders is used to spending her days in the snow-capped mountains snowboarding and practicing combat at grandfather's centuries old estate. But all that comes to a screeching halt when she wakes up to find the entire estate has been moved to an amazing tropical location, right in the middle of a busy tourist town on the ocean.
With her grandfather acting as the Overseer for an ancient group of human-like people called Akori, her life is already complicated. After meeting Tanner on the beach one night, everything Addy's life was built around changes. He's smart, funny, covered in tattoos, and completely not her type. Humans shouldn't be able to see into her world, but somehow Tanner can. That makes him dangerous and, against her better judgment, Addy can't stay away from him.
At the same time, a guy she grew up with, who never gave her a second glance, can't get enough of her. Gage is tall, blond, gorgeous, and not human. He has plenty of girls vying for his attention, so she has no clue what he wants with her. That's got her pretty suspicious of his motives.
After a strange man is spotted lurking around the estate, concerns arise that maybe the humans who killed her parents have decided to come back for her. She's stuck having Gage as her shadow and she's not exactly thrilled he's suddenly in the picture.
As the last living Sanders, Addy is forced to try claiming her grandfather's position once he dies. With her grandfather gone and the power and secrets of her family up for grabs, placing her trust in anyone could lead to disaster. Betrayed by old friends and leery of new ones - she's left to cut through the lies and deception to get to the truth. In the process, she discovers a stranger who may turn out to be the key to ending her family's centuries old burden.
Addy discovers that sometimes it's better not knowing and misery really does love company in Dissever, Book One of the Unbinding Fate Series.
The church in the center of the village was always his final stop yet Oren still felt uneasy.
The smell of the charring human remains didn’t even register to him anymore, but stepping onto the holy ground after what he’d just done made his stomach churn.
The methodical way he’d learned to pile them in the hastily dug holes, and stoke the flames just right until the flesh was melted from their bodies, wasn’t the way he'd been raised to tend to the dead. These dead received no funeral, no prayers, and no flowers. Only a mass grave and some quickly scribbled notes about who was where.
In the beginning, he’d arranged them by family, but that wasn’t possible anymore. Too many bodies to deal with had resulted in mass graves. First burning them, and then covering the smoldering pile of bone and ash with dirt. Finally, a wooden marker was placed at each site with the date that corresponded to the list he made for the day. When it was over, he hoped that someone would prepare proper grave markers for the people he was disposing of so crudely.
Most of the remaining villagers locked themselves away—Oren didn't blame them. He’d wanted to do the same, but his wife Anna insisted that they go on with life as normally as possible, helping when they could.
Oren and a few others were all that was left to remove the dead before the rats could get to them. They burned down entire homes after the last family member died, in a failing last effort to stop the sickness from spreading. The village was a blackened smoldering shell of what it was before the plague. He struggled to remember what it’d been like.
The quarantine hadn't stopped the sickness from spreading, and nearby villages reported similar devastation. Unimaginable sickness was ending the lives of his neighbors, and had taken his family. His parents and brother were the first to go, then in the spring his sister-in-law and niece died. Last month he lost his wife Anna and their son Jon. He had no more family living.
Oren volunteered to tend to the gravely ill and dispose of the dead. It was a gruesome task, but he had no hope or desire to make it through the nightmare he found himself living in. He tried to take solace in the fact that each body he disposed of saved another person from living with the memory of watching their loved one burn.
He still couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that he hadn’t become sick himself. Before she died, Anna said it was a blessing to be spared, and he should be grateful.
She believed there was a plan for him. Perhaps she was right, but it seemed to Oren that he was suffering more than the ones who’d become sick. They were at least given a speedy death. Once they became feverish, they seemed to be pulled into a daze unaware of what was happening to them. By the time the blood oozed from their orifices, they were unconscious and quietly slipped away. Oren, on the other hand, was left to suffer through their sickness and loss acutely aware of what was going on around him.
As much as he desperately wanted to, he knew that ending his own life wasn’t an option. Many others he knew chose that path and he held no ill feelings toward them. He promised Anna he’d continue even after she was gone. If he’d known what that promise would mean, he doubted he would’ve made it. Instead, he prayed for an end.
In the front of the church stood a beautifully carved statue of an Angel holding a golden book. It had always been his favorite part of going to church. Its eyes were expressive and its lips were curved slightly.
Kneeling before the Angel as it looked down on the rows of empty pews, he once again begged to be taken away. When he was finished, he made his way to the pallet on the floor in the back of the church that had become his bed. He couldn’t go to his home. It was stained with blood and death. Oren knew it should’ve already been burned to the ground like the rest, but it had proven easier to burn down his neighbor’s homes than his own. Closing his tired eyes, he drifted off to dream of better times.
A woman’s voice speaking his name startled him from his sleep. Once he cleared his mind, he assumed it would be one of the few remaining villagers there to ask that he remove one of their newly dead loved ones. It happened frequently. But looking up, he was met with the piercing gaze of bright green eyes. Her long blond hair was pulled back tightly, making her face look harsh. She was like nothing he'd ever seen—definitely not one of his neighbors. Her skin had an unnatural glow that outshined the candles lighting the small stone church where she looked down on him.
The man beside her wore a slightly more pleasant expression, almost amused. He was tall and slender. The same strange glow shined from him, but his golden eyes and messy dark hair made him less intimidating than her.
They were both dressed in gold colored robes tied neatly at the waist, and carried strange marks on the top of their hands that glowed with blue light. They looked like layers of wounds that healed into blue scars in a curvy lined pattern. He tried not to stare but it was almost impossible not to. He reasoned that since it had to be a dream, it didn’t much matter if his long looks came across as insulting.
When he didn't speak, she spoke his name again in a softer voice, perhaps sensing she’d startled him.
“Oren Sanders.” She tipped her head down, making eye contact with him. “My name is Eva and my companion is Andrew—we are Akori. You will come with us, we need your help.”
As if he was being willed to do it, and thinking perhaps he’d wake up any moment anyway, Oren got to his feet. Normally he would’ve questioned her odd request, but he didn’t—he had no desire to.
Leaving with them felt like the most normal, reasonable thing he had been asked to do recently. No part of him felt any danger as he obediently followed them from the church past the cries in the night of the sick and suffering. Oren watched as Andrew reached over and took Eva’s hand, whispering in her ear. Eva simply responded with a nod.
This tale encompasses people who look like humans except they have blue tattoo-like figures on their hands, which glow under certain circumstances and they are called Akori. Akori never die but if they are wounded severely they "scatter." That is they disappear for many years and then one day they appear once again looking just the same age as when they scattered. Then there are humans who die naturally and don't have the paranormal powers of the Akori. Last but not least are the Mesen who are Akori who have rebelled against the ones residing in Tremain, which is a large estate, usually situated in some cold, snowy region but at the time of this story, it has been re-located in a warm area of the U.S. on the ocean. Addison Sanders, called Addy, is a human who is the granddaughter of Fate, a human and also Overseer of Tremain. There are many characters in this story, and most of them are young adults, with romance, special powers and many conflicts between the Akori and the Mesen thrown in for good measure. The plot is unique and well written with many unusual and unexpected twists. Although it is considered in the YA genre, older adults will enjoy it also if you like sci fi type stories. I enjoyed it and it is a page turner.
About the Author
Colee Firman grew up in Michigan and still lives there. Writing is one of her hobbies. The Unbinding Fate Series is the first work she has published. Dissever, Sanctify, Chasing Darkness, and Twisted Memories are also available.