Today one lucky commenter has the chance to win 1 ebook copy of
Garden of Apples by M. Nova.
Just leave a comment on this post no later than 7:00pm (pacific) on 11/9/11 - along with your email address - and we'll announce the winner on Thursday, November 10th.
In a forgotten land, a novice farmer, Adam Prestan, becomes possessed with temptation when he spies the indescribable beauty of an unadulterated wine heiress, Eve Telanis. In the spellbinding world of Eden, purity and courtship reign supreme. Defiance incurs death. Such stringency leaves these romantics seeking liberation from the rules and the key to unlock their emerging taste for one another.
As intimacy and adventure commence in this epic journey, Adam and Eve conceal their bond, stumbling on a remedy that offers them seclusion. Lucas Greetious, the expelled ex-captain of the governing force, holds the map to their secrecy. Adam and Eve chance everything, including their families, by indulging in a forbidden paradise and ignoring the deadly consequences.
Do they hold the power to siphon love and life from one to the other, or will they be solely responsible for breeding dissension and the demise of many? It only takes one bite. And one bite might just set them free …
“If you are not cut out for war, you’re not carved for love.”
Despite some overcast, the sun sat on her galactic throne, birthing a new day for the world of Eden.
At the Hall of Order, Governor Christopher passively walked down a long corridor, sandwiched between the captain on his left and the first lieutenant to his right.
“What can you tell me of Lucas?” asked Josiah, looking to Michael.
“Some say he is recruiting.” Michael adjusted his utility belt. “Others are not so sure.”
“I don’t see for what,” Gabriel chimed in. “He is not a legitimate entrepreneur — by any means.”
“That would be the day I give him governing rights over Eden,” joked Josiah. “He is up to something — always was.”
The captain suggested, “It may be for a revolt or underground syndicate. I don’t know.”
“We had better keep an eye on him. With his favorable reputation, he has pull. I wouldn’t doubt his targeting the young and naïve. I bled with him in the war, fighting side-by-side. He knows our creed, and I intend on protecting it.”
“Understood,” said Gabriel.
“Everything that you two risk your lives for can change, if you fail to keep a tight watch on Greetious.”
The three moved on to other business, continuing down the hall.
Eve and Delilah roamed around the marketplace, investigating all sorts of merchandise. Delilah, however, did most of the snooping, while Eve held her day’s objective intact. Eve looked in every direction, just in case Adam might appear sooner than planned. She pulled her ruffled white cap forward, blocking the sun. The small hand on the nearby clock tower was not far from striking twelve.
Upholding punctuality, the ladies arrived at the fruit vendors.
“Why do you appear so absent?” asked Delilah, wiping her hands along the sides of her flowery dress.
“Do I look all right?” returned Eve.
“My precise point, Eve.” As a caring friend, Delilah observed her attire comprehensively. “Yes, you are lovely — a lovely, red apple.”
“I am so nervous.” She aimlessly searched through the green pears.
“Why? It’s only fruit.”
Eve giggled. “Not where we are, silly. Promise you won’t say anything?”
“Just go on with it, will you.”
“Adam is meeting me here at noon.”
“For what?” Delilah smirked.
“I am not sure. We rode on his horse and agreed to meet here.”
“I see something behind your eyes. But, I’m not quite sure what it is just yet.” Eve laughed, guilty as charged.
Judeah Roman, a young man of Adam’s age, saw Eve and Delilah cavorting by the fruit. He went towards them. The fellow was raised underprivileged, never knowing his mother. His father preferred inhabitance in taverns, or anywhere else but at home with his son.
Disheveled hair was normal for the youthful lad. Rags would be another description for the clothing he wore — torn, aged, stained. Judeah was motivated to alter such things about his appearance. Such inspiration came from the woman he aspired to marry, the one standing where his legs led him — Eve.
The dames saw him approach and turned away, wishing he were only a momentary apparition. Their dreams were shattered. He was incarnated and standing before them.
“Would you like some fruit, my lady,” he asked in a cracking voice. Young Roman took hold of an immature plum and extended it to Eve.
Eve quickly signified disinterest in the motion of her head and faced Delilah, who was no more enthusiastic about his presence than her companion. Eve rolled her eyes so that he would see it, and travelled in circles around different fruit carts, to no avail. He persistently followed her.
“Please go away,” blurted Delilah, with a diabolical grin.
“Excuse me?” he responded, but never looked at her. His murky eyes were geared toward the woman he worshipped.
“You!” exclaimed Delilah. He glanced at her. “Yes, you! Leave — take a bath or drown in the lake.” He checked Eve for her disapproval of his dismissal. She denied their eyes catching. “Do something — anything — somewhere else.” Delilah shooed him away.
He was affronted and subsequently humiliated, especially in front of his eventual wife — so he prayed. His head descended from the hurt. It did not matter to him where, but he headed elsewhere. Each stride he took away reiterated each step backward he had taken from grasping her. No one could convince him that this was Eve’s doing. It was Delilah’s fault alone. This partially appeased him.
Lucas was in listening range to what just occurred, and observed Judeah’s entire rejection and expulsion. He was not solo. Desaro accompanied him.
“The youth,” started Lucas, “are so precious, carefree. They are ignorant of responsibility, or even the meaning of love, Des.” Desaro cleared the sweat from his brow. “What they think is love is lust. And, what they think of lust is that it’s a sin. They are confused.”
“They are predictable,” said Desaro. Lucas grinned. “Good place to begin.”
“Eden is mine. I saved Josiah on many accounts. He has never been face-to-face with the people — I have.”
“That is true, my Lord.”
“While the almighty Governor hid in his office, I kept this city operating — safe from harm. He would banish me — like I’m not righteous enough? Things will change, Desaro. Things will change.”
“We should wave him off, just as Judeah was,” said Desaro, snickering.
“Poor boy. Another lost youth, desiring acceptance — belonging.”
“He may find it someday. We did.” They smiled at each other. “You know, we will need a vast supply of pistols, rifles and ammunition to properly combat Josiah and his slaves.”
“No, Des. We are in need of anything that can be flung, swung or shot silently.” His friend looked at him, perplexed. “Anything with a sharp point. Does that help? We must be as snakes, hidden within common grass. Smite unheard. Pierce with venom. Blend back into the pasture.”
The clock struck twelve. Delilah saw Adam coming in the distance. She also witnessed him inspecting his clothing for spots.
“Here he comes,” Delilah informed Eve. “Would you prefer me to stay for moral support?”
Eve laughed. “I think I’ll manage. You may leave.”
“Enjoy yourself, Evy. But, not too much.” She gave her friend a devious stare.
“Get out of here.” Eve smirked and sent a gentle push Delilah’s way.
To alleviate crossing paths with him, Delilah left in a different direction.
Eve faced away from Adam, once again pretending she was unaware of his approach.
He stood behind her, saying, “I know you feel my existence.” She hid her smile. “Very well. I must be going, then.”
As soon as he rotated one hundred and eighty degrees, she grabbed his left shoulder and softly said, “Adam, where is your sense of humor?”
“I can tell that yours is still available.” She would not acknowledge his sly remark.
They walked closely, ending up near an apple vendor. He grabbed a Granny Smith apple and tossed it north and south.
“Would you like one?” asked Adam.
“Not that one.” He appeared insulted. “I like Pink Ladies.”
“I like my women tan.”
“You’re a funny one, aren’t you?”
“You will have to find out, I presume.”
She shook her head at him.
Lucas and Desaro strolled past the young adults. Lucas grinned as he stared into Adam’s eyes. The men exited the Fruit Market.
“Who are they?” asked Eve, watching them leave.
“The one that smiled is Lucas Greetious, a former Arch.” His eyes were fixed on her. “The same for the other gentleman. I think his name is Desaro or something like that.”
“What happened to them?”
“Who knows?” Adam could not have cared less about them at this moment. Her blinding beauty enraptured him. “So, did you enjoy the ride?”
“I have to admit, I was a bit scared at first, but I could get used to that sort of excitement.”
Unintentionally, they found themselves wandering from the fruit, stopping before two gigantic golden gates. Where the gates were connected to the high concrete wall was a statue of a cherub on top of each column. The barriers were sturdy and successfully reliable in preventing civilians from entering the Majestic Garden. Adam and Eve studied the entrance, standing abreast.
“Adam, have you ever been in there?”
“No, you must have permission. It’s the primary source of income for Eden.” He was astonished that she held no knowledge of this or so she led him to believe. “You must have the Governor’s authorization, or the Archs will wring your neck. Have you been in there?”
“No, but I heard it was more enrapturing than the countryside. One can get lost in a matter of minutes, and never want to return.”
“So I’ve heard.”
She turned to him with wide eyes, saying, “The fruit in there is the most luscious and appetizing fruit you will ever taste — plums, pears, oranges, bananas, nectarines, strawberries, cherries —”
“Apples and more than we can imagine.”
He smiled at the joy in her tone, in her eyes. “Are you sure you were never there?”
“I said ‘no’. I heard people around here gossiping about it.” She glanced at the intimidating gates and said, “Not sure how they found out. But it sounds amazing and so desirable, doesn’t it?”
“Even more desirable than you?”
“Mr. Prestan, I am a modest and pure woman,” announced the lady, smiling.
“Are you?” He held a straight face. “We shall see.”
Eve smacked his arm. “You are horrible!”
“And you are the most ravishing woman I have ever seen.”
She blushed. “Someday I want to get lost in that garden.”
They peered through the golden bars on the gates.
“The price is too steep, dear,” warned Adam.
Eve gave him a disappointed look. Though she knew he was right, she preferred her wishful thinking over his practical stance.
The duo headed back toward the apple stands.
This time Adam took hold of a Pink Lady. “This can be yours if you should desire it.”
“Why would I want that one?” she replied rudely. “You have tainted it with your farming hands.”
“Oh, I see,” he responded, with eyebrows raised. He lifted his free hand and said, “A man that works, that toils for his family, scares the rich girl.”
“How dare you, Adam!”
“No.” He looked at his hands, as did Eve. “You insult these hands. Yet these hands may be of some important use to you in the future.”
She crossed her arms and asked, “Such as?”
“You will have to stay near to find that answer. As for now, no apple for you.” He placed it back in the cart. Her jaw dropped and her eyes widened. “Now you want what you cannot have — hmmm?”
“Prissy Daddy’s girl!”
They gazed deeply into one another’s eyes and released no sound. Their hearts did the talking at this instance. If everyone around them disappeared, they would never know, frozen in their passionate trance.
Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed her father coming their way. He had yet to find his daughter, observing new items from the merchants.
“I have to go, Adam.” She walked past him, forbidding any public display of affection.
“Wait — are you going to service tonight?”
She turned to him. “I will if you do.”
“Then, I shall.” He smiled. “I will see you later, priss-pot!”
Eve wrinkled her nose and returned a sincere and smitten expression. Off to her father she ran.
Adam watched John embrace his daughter. How severely Adam wanted her in his grasp. Fortunately, he would see her at the Cathedral. His chance might come sooner than expected.