Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Intermix Nation Blog Tour

Excerpt: 


“That was quite the little show,” he says.
“I didn’t realize I had an audience.”
“I didn’t realize Grum was teaching recruits how to bandage opponents to death,” he shoots back. “It doesn’t seem very efficient.”
Nazirah flushes in anger, looking at her overly taped hands. Even from here she can see that his are done the right way. Her first instinct is to run and her eyes dart to the door. But she is no coward! Where is the Nazirah Nation who jumped off the cliffs of Rafu? Where is the Nazirah Nation who tried to beat up bullies twice her size? Where is that girl, who was once so fearless, and is now so scared and lost? And all because of this boy, who is probably expecting her to run anyway.
Nazirah is tired of running.
“Well, you would know, wouldn’t you?” she says. She meets his gaze evenly, cocking her head.
Adamek’s eyes darken. Two could play this game. “Yes, I would."
Adamek steps away from the punching bag, giving her full access to it. Nazirah straightens her shoulders in defiance and cautiously approaches it, keeping an eye on him the entire time. They haven’t been alone since the day she met him in the prison. She feels out of sorts in his presence, apart from the obvious reasons. He is always just there, just watching. Like he’s trying to figure out what makes her tick; like she’s his pet project.
Nazirah stands before the punching bag. She breathes deeply, zoning Adamek out, trying to remember the reason she came here in the first place. She can’t back down now. She can’t let Niko down. She has to figure out how to fight without freezing up. She has to figure out how to channel this guilt.
Hit it. Hit it. Hit it.
Her muscles lock. She sighs in frustration, resting her head against the bag and closing her eyes. She clenches her jaw, willing the images of Riva and Kasimir away. She opens her eyes, breathing hard. It’s just a bag, she thinks. It’s just a bag.
But suddenly, it’s not just a bag anymore. Nazirah imagines that it’s something entirely different … someone entirely different.
Just hit it.
And she does.
Her fist slams into the bag with a dull thud. It hurts her wrist and the bag barely moves an inch, but Nazirah wants to cry with joy. She hits it again, harder this time – and again and again. She feels a hand firmly grip her back, correcting her posture. And another, repositioning her arm. Nazirah whirls around, her heart pounding out of its ribcage.
“Don’t fucking touch me!”
Adamek is only a foot away. The gloves that were hanging around his neck are gone. He stares at the stitches above her eyebrow and at her bruised face. “I think you could use a few pointers."
“I don’t need your help!”
“I beg to differ,” he says. “The first rule, Nation, is to always know your enemy.”
“Oh, believe me, Morgen,” she says, laughing coldly, “that is not my problem.”
“So why have you been ballroom dancing with this bag for the past five minutes, when you know I’m standing right behind you?”
“You admit you’re my enemy?”
He shrugs. “You certainly seem to think so.”
“Yes, I certainly do!”
“You’re so tense, Nation.”
“Leave me alone.”
Adamek looks irate. He takes a determined step forward. Nazirah steps backward, past the bag, trying to put more space between them. “Why won’t you fight?” he asks.
Nazirah wasn’t expecting that. And she doesn’t want to go there. She takes another step backward, but he matches her.
“Why won’t you fight?” he asks again. He is quickly becoming unhinged and Nazirah thinks she should have left when she had the chance. She takes another step backward, her back hitting the wall. There’s nowhere left to retreat. Adamek is just a few inches away now, eyes burning in anger. “Why won’t you fight?” he shouts. He slams his fists into the wall on both sides of her. She flinches, can see it written all over his face. He already knows why.
“Go away!” she yells.
“Fight back!” Adamek shoves her shoulders into the wall, lifting Nazirah up so he can look her in the eyes. Her feet dangle uselessly a foot off the ground. She struggles against him and he laughs. “You’re going to have to do a lot better than that, princess.”
Nazirah slaps him with her left hand. Adamek growls, releases her shoulder and catching her hand in his. He pushes her entire arm back against the wall and Nazirah goes to slap him with her right hand. He anticipates the move this time, catching that one as well.
Nazirah seethes. She attempts to knee Adamek’s groin, but he presses his body up against hers, pinning her to the wall.
“I’m particularly fond of those,” he says, tracing the stitches above her eyebrow with his fingers. “So let’s not try that again.”
“Fuck off!”
“You kiss your mother with that mouth?”
“You’re a bastard!”
“That’s funny, princess,” he says. “Your father called me the same thing … before I shot him in the heart.”
Nazirah screams, throwing all of her weight onto Adamek and slamming her head into his face. He staggers backward, but she holds onto him. She chokes him with one hand, digging her fingernails into his wounded shoulder with the other. The pain in her head is blinding and her stitches have reopened. Blood drips into her eye and she feels about to blackout, but all she can think about is spilling the blood of Adamek Morgen.
Adamek hisses, wrenching her fingers away from his shoulder. He pulls her off him. She lands hard on the ground.
Nazirah jumps up and stands in front of him, gasping. She notices with satisfaction that his throat is covered with her claw marks. Nazirah glares, wiping blood from her eyes. He looks angry, yes. He looks like he’s in pain, good. But he also looks relieved. Like he has proven something to himself. Like he wanted this to happen all along.
Was this his intention in the prison as well? Had he wanted her to attack him, to fight him, to face him?
The guilt that’s eating Nazirah up inside is still there, but it’s different, somehow. She has finally confronted him. And somehow, she knows she won’t choke anymore. Somehow, she knows she can fight. And that’s a powerful feeling.
“Why?”
He rubs his throat and rotates his shoulder gingerly. “You needed to be able to fight. You needed to let yourself fight.”
“That’s not what I’m asking.”
Nazirah sees the recognition in his eyes. “Don’t ask a question, if you don’t want to know the answer,” he says.
“Why did you do it?” she cries angrily, tears streaming down her face. She is letting him see her cry, but she doesn’t care. She doesn’t care at all. She holds her stomach in her hands, completely losing it. She pulls hard on his shirt. “Tell me why!”
His gaze is distant. “There’s nothing I can say that will bring them back. It was an order. I followed it. End of story.”
“End of story?” she sobs, hoarse. “If only my story ended there!”
“I warned you not to ask.”
“I hate you,” she says, raw. “I hate you so much.”
She walks away.
He lets her.

And she doesn’t realize, until much later, that she never asked him if he regrets it.

Synopsis:

Intermix: to mix together, blend

North America, paragon of diversity, is gone. From its ashes, a new nation has arisen – Renatus – where the government segregates the surviving population into races, forbidding interracial marriage, mating, and love.

Eighteen-year-old Nazirah Nation is a pariah, an intermix, born of people from different races. When her parents are murdered in the name of justice, Nazirah grudgingly joins the growing rebellion fighting against the despotic government.

Overwhelmed with grief, consumed by guilt, Nazirah craves vengeance as a substitute for absolution. But on her journey to find the girl she once was, Nazirah must learn the hard way that nothing … no one … is purely black or white. Like her, every human is intermix, shades and hues of complex emotions. And those who can take everything away are also the ones who can give everything back.

About the Author

M.P. Attardo is a twenty-something, part-time writer, full-time daydreamer. She has a college degree … is still trying to figure out what ever to do with it. She loves amateur baseball commentating, heckling, and overindulging. And putting her bizarre, gritty thoughts into words for all to read.
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