Title: The Woodlands
Author: Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Published: Clean Teen Publishing, August 30th, 2013
Word Count: approx. 92,000
Genre: YA Mature Dystopian Romance
Content Warning: Non-graphic Violence
Recommend Age: 14+
Blurb: Rosa never thought she’d make it to sixteen…
When being unique puts you in danger and speaking your mind can be punishable by death, you might find yourself fighting to survive. Sixteen-year-old Rosa lives in one of the eight enclosed cities of The Woodlands. Where the lone survivors of a devastating race war have settled in the Russian wilderness because it’s the only scrap of land left habitable on the planet. In these circular cities, everyone must abide by the law or face harsh punishment. Rosa’s inability to conform and obey the rules brands her a leper and no one wants to be within two feet of her, until she meets Joseph. He’s blonde, fair-skinned, green-eyed, and the laid-back complete opposite of Rosa. She’s never met anyone quite like him, and she knows that spells danger.
But differences weren’t always a bad thing. People used to think being unique was one of the most treasured of traits to have. Now, the Superiors, who ruthlessly control the concrete cities with an iron fist, are obsessed with creating a ‘raceless’ race. They are convinced this is the only way to avoid another war. Any anomalies must be destroyed.
The Superiors are unstoppable and can do anything they want. After all, they are considered superheroes by the general public. But not everyone sees them this way. When they continue to abuse their power by collecting young girls for use in their secret, high-tech breeding program, they have no idea that one of those girls has somehow managed to make friends even she didn’t know she had. And one man will stop at nothing to save her.
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I don’t know how long I stayed there. I heard muffled voices—people moving around me, sharp rocks clunking dully together.
Strong arms tried to pull me up from where I squatted, head between my knees, clinging to the rail. A baby cried. Someone punched the wall. I stayed there still.
The light was touching my hands, bare-knuckle white. My body tensed. Someone was talking to me, but it was like I was underwater. His voice warbled and I couldn’t make sense of it.
I was teetering on the edge of a precipice, wind in my hair, staring down into blackness. With all my courage, all my energy, I made the choice. I let go and I let myself fall, endlessly falling, cold air pulling my hair up over my head.
One finger at a time, detached. Tick, tick, tick. Heavy cloth shrouded me.
He picked me up in a blanket and walked outside. Silent. It was bright. I closed my eyes and focused on his footfalls on the solid earth. Thump, thump, thump. I felt us descending. I opened my eyes and it was cooler, darker.
He lay me down gently, kissing me on the forehead. I felt numb with no senses, like there was a barrier between me and the outside world. He rolled my shirt up and pulled it over my head. The cotton stuck to my skin. Carefully, he used his hands to peel it away from my stomach and chest, push, pry, rip. A faint copper scent stung my nose. He stood me up, removed my boots and trousers, dunking everything in the shallow pond he had brought us to. I sat there. Blank. Cold. Watching the water change from clear to pink and then clear again as it washed away. Washed her away.
He soaked a cloth in water, and begun carefully wiping the rust-colored blood from my body. I didn’t care anymore. I let him touch me, lifting my arms, turning my head, pulling my hair back and cleaning my neck. He did it all slowly and deliberately. There was no charge in his touch. This was a kindness to one who was broken.
When he was done, he wrapped me in the blanket and propped me up against a tree trunk like a wooden puppet. I watched, disconnected, as he soaked my clothes and rinsed them until the water ran clear.
He gathered me up, in only my underclothes and a blanket, and slung my wet uniform over his shoulder, taking me back into the sunlight.
Lauren Nicolle Taylor is a 33-year-old mother living in the tiny, lush town of Bridgewater on the other side of the world in Australia. She married her high school sweetheart and has three very boisterous and individual children. She earned a Bachelors degree in Health Sciences with Honours in Obstetrics and Gynecology and majored in Psychology while minoring in Contemporary Australian Writing.
After a disastrous attempt to build her dream house that left her family homeless, She found herself inexplicably drawn to the computer. She started writing, not really knowing where it may lead but ended up, eight weeks later, with the rough draft of The Woodlands.
In 2013, Lauren Nicolle Taylor accepted a publishing contract with Clean Teen Publishing. Her first published novel, The Woodlands, was released on August 30, 2013. Currently, Lauren has finished her manuscript for the second book in the series titled: The Wall, as well as partially completed the third book in the series which at this time is unnamed.
There is an international tour wide giveaway. Prize includes the following:
GRAND PRIZE: A digital copy of The Woodlands, a Woodlands bookmark, a surprise Clean Teen Publishing swag gift and a Clean Teen Publishing digital book of the reader’s choosing.