27 Days to Midnight
by Kristine Kruppa
Genre; YA Steampunk Adventure
Release date: May 3rd 2016
Giant Squid Books
Her father has never shown her the pocket watch counting down the days she has left to live. When he sacrifices himself to save her from her scheduled death, Dahlia abandons her comfortable home and sets off after his murderer to uncover the secrets her father died to protect…and the time research that could bring him back to life.
Then she meets Farren Reed. She should hate him. He’s an enemy soldier, a cowardly deserter, and the most insufferable man Dahlia’s ever met. Still, she needs all the help she can get, and Farren is the only chance she has to find the man who murdered her father. But Farren has only twenty-seven days left on his watch.
In that time, Dahlia must recover her father’s time research, foil a psychotic general’s plot, and learn to survive in a world that will never be the same. But the research holds secrets more dangerous than she had ever imagined. She will have to choose what is most important: revenge, Farren's life, or her own. And time is running out.
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“It’s only a cut, I don’t think this is really…” the aviator protested. But there was no reasoning with an eight-foot metal giant once he had put his mind to something.
“I used to be a surgeon. You’ll need stitches.”
Tiberius backed out of the medical bay long enough to propel Dahlia inside, then loomed in the doorway as if to block it.
“My hands cannot perform delicate work. Dahlia, I’ll instruct you.”
“You expect me to—”
“Wash your hands. Get the sterilizing fluid on the third shelf.”
Dahlia began rummaging through the storage drawers. Glinting surgical implements, bandages, gauze, and other medical objects were arranged meticulously inside.
Tiberius guided her through the process of sterilizing Farren’s hand and the suture needle. When the time came to stitch the cut closed, she was surprisingly unfazed. Actions that would have nauseated her a week ago seemed mere child’s play now.
This is nothing compared to being shot.
Hate squeezed her thoughts as she remembered Sebastian ordering his soldiers to kill her.
“I don’t think it’s bad enough to have damaged your watch,” said Dahlia as she worked. Her hand brushed the rough calluses at the bases of his fingers.
“Well, that’s good news, isn’t it?”
“It is. I don’t feel like taking your watch apart again.”
Farren’s breathing twitched as Dahlia made another stitch through his skin. She could feel his eyes on her.
“Thanks for that, by the way.”
“For sewing you up?”
“For fixing my watch back in that first town. ’Preciate it, sweetheart.”
“Oh, you’re welcome.”
It felt awkward, being so close to him under Tiberius’ watchful gaze. It felt awkward being close to him at all. Something about the warmth of his injured hand in hers, the unruly blonde hair falling over his eyes, and the way he looked at her when he thought she didn’t see. She wondered--
Dahlia forced her thoughts away.
Stop. He’s going to die in twenty-one days.
Why allow herself to get caught up in a childish fantasy when she knew how it would end? Farren was only a friend. Besides, she had more important things to worry about.
Like killing Sebastian Macall.
designing cool new car parts, but her evenings are filled with writing and cats. She has traveled solo to seventeen countries on five continents. Her other hobbies include hunting for the perfect cup of coffee, exploring used book stores, and accidentally climbing mountains. To keep up with her adventures, follow Kristine on Twitter @kskruppa.
(Author photo credit: Sunny Wong)