Rosa’s First Christmas (A Woodlands Series Guest Post). Plus a Giveaway- Win a Year of FREE Books!

Rosa’s First Christmas (The Woodlands Series.) 

We hope you enjoy this guest post by Author Lauren Nicolle Taylor. Rosa’s first Christmas. 

The windows creak and click as ice spindles its way across the panes in feathery patterns. The fire’s burning so hot I’m worried it may bulge and pop. I turn to Joseph, his cheeks rosy, his hair tucked into a woolen hat, “You look ridiculous.” I say, swiping the hat off his head and throwing it at him. He grins at me and grabs at my waist, hooking his finger in my belt loop and dragging me to him. I fight, but not very hard. He pulls me into his lap and kisses my neck. It tickles and I strain away from him, casting my eyes over the pile of fabric at his feet. Deep reds and forest greens. 

“What is this stuff?” I say picking it up like it’s a smelly, wet towel from the bathroom floor.

“Addy gave it to me.” Joseph says with a shrug. “She wanted me to hang it somewhere near the fireplace. There’s one for each of us.”

I swing Orry’s boot shaped decoration in front of my eyes, noticing the exacting needlework that spells out his full name in gold stitching. I frown. “What’s it for?”

“It for this Christ…mass thing they keep talking about.” He says the words like they’re foreign-tasting on his tongue.

“Oh yeah,” I say rolling my eyes. Addy had mentioned something to me earlier in the week. Clasping her hands together like she was plotting something, her scratchy voice piercing the higher octaves in excitement. She’d said, “Just let me handle it.” She’d rattled my arm, her sharp fingernails scratching my skin, “Come to my house on Christmas Eve.”

“When’s that?” I’d asked.

She’d shaken her head in pity, her grey hair flaking over her head like wisps of a broken spider web, “Oh girl. So much to learn.”

“So are we going?” Joseph asks as he very un-carefully knocks some nails into the wall, just splitting the dry wall and making a mess of white powder and paint chips.

I rush to him as Orry starts crying. “Oh my God! You go get Orry. And give that to me before you hurt yourself.” I snatch the hammer and smile at him. His eyes glint and he gives me that ‘only girl in the world’ look. Then he stomps into the bedroom to grab the squawking baby.

I carefully hang the stockings on the wall behind the scorching fireplace. Its grill smiles at me with orange and laughing smoke. I trace my fingers lightly over the golden lettering. Our names together, side by the side like this gives me a strange, warm and vulnerable feeling I’m not sure I like.

Joseph’s arm links in mine and pulls me back from the stool I’m standing on. “Looks good!” He says his eyes skimming the giant hole he’s made in my wall.

“Next time find the stud before you go hammering stuff into the wall,” I snap. He gives me a confused look like he has no idea what a stud is and pulls me out the door with Orry in the crook of his big arm.

We walk down the street, linked like a golden chain, the cold wind pushing on us and trying to break us apart. But we melt the snow with our glowing footsteps. We are on our way to celebrate our first Christ-mass. And even if I don’t understand it, the lights, the sapling decorated with paper-chains and popcorn. I am willing to take up anything. I’m going to garner these new traditions, pick them up like lost treasures I’ve found trodden into the dirt and gather them in my skinny arms. Because anything that’s different, anything that celebrates rather than punishes, has got a shine to it in my eyes.

About Lauren Nicolle Taylor

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.

Where to find Lauren: Blog / Facebook / Twitter

The Woodlands Series by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

(Young Adult Mature- Dystopian Romance)

Published by: Clean Teen Publishing

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. Rosa lives in The Woodlands, one of eight enclosed cities where the lone survivors of a devastating war have been gathered. 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, blue eyed and the laid back, ever-grinning, 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. That was before the bitter race war decimated most of the planet, leaving the Russian wilderness as the only scrap of land habitable for survivors. 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 super heroes by the general public. But not everyone see’s 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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