Happy Release Day to
Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins!!
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Happy Book Birthday, Jennifer!
Did you know that NAMELESS is in development for film by Benderspink! That’s the same company who optioned Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen and produced the I AM NUMBER FOUR film!
Seventeen-year-old Zo is a Wolf and a Healer who volunteers to infiltrate the Ram as a spy on behalf of the allied clans. She offers herself as a Ram slave, joining the people who are called the “nameless.” Hers is a suicide mission – Zo’s despair after losing her parents in a Ram raid has left her seeking both revenge and an end to her own misery. But after her younger sister follows her into Rams Gate, Zo must find a way to survive her dangerous mission and keep her sister safe.
What she doesn’t expect to find is the friendship of a young Ram whose life she saves, the confusing feelings she develops for a Ram soldier, and an underground nameless insurrection. Zo learns that revenge, loyalty and love are more complicated than she ever imagined in the first installment of this two-book series.
“Go ahead and do it.” Zo’s legs buckled beneath her. Gryphon let her sink to her knees on the cold earth.
“You can throw my body into the river when you’re done.” The Allies watched the river. Someone would know Tess was alone. Commander Laden would send a team to retrieve her. The Ram would move south and the Wolves, with the help of the Allies, would be prepared to fight. Tess would be free before the end of this year.
Joshua joined Zo on the ground and put an arm around her.
“Don’t worry, Zo. Gryphon’s not going to kill you.” Joshua looked up at Gryphon for reassurance.
“The chief will want to question her.” Gryphon frowned. “But I’ll speak for her, Joshua.”
“You’ll speak for her?” Joshua jumped to his feet. He had to crane his neck to meet Gryphon’s cold eyes. “You’ll speak for her!” He shoved him in the chest with both hands. Gryphon didn’t even sway from the contact. Joshua pushed him again and again until his shoving turned to full-on punching. Gryphon just stood there and took it, watching Zo with a hollow expression. They all knew what would happen if Gryphon took her back.
Zo couldn’t stand it any longer. “Joshua, stop.” She used a low tree branch to help her stand. The muscles in her back throbbed from Gryphon’s rough handling. “I can speak for myself.”
The poor kid dropped to the ground. His head hung between his knees, he grabbed two fistfuls of his own red hair. Zo stepped toward Gryphon. “Send the boy away. For his own sake.” Zo was in no position to make demands, but the prospect of losing her life made her bold. She wouldn’t be a victim any longer.
Gryphon studied her through the curtain of his dark hair. “He has a right to stay.”
Zo stepped closer until their toes almost touched and the smoke of her breath reached his dimpled cheek. Her voice barely carried over the sound of the river. “Kill me here. Don’t hand me over to the chief’s guards.” The image of the Gate Master entered her mind. “Please.” Her bright blue eyes met his. The time for submission had passed.
Gryphon shook his head, his jaw set.
“What?” She shoved him. “Too much of a coward to do the job yourself? Aren’t you a Ram?” She had to get him angry. No one would know to help Tess if Zo’s body didn’t end up in that river.
Joshua got up from the ground and put a hand on his mentor’s chest while looking at Zo. “That wasn’t a great thing to say,” he forced a whisper through his teeth. “I think you should let me do the negotiating from now on.”
Gryphon pushed Joshua’s hand away. The wrap around his wounded shoulder was dark with fresh blood. The bandage needed replacing. “Why did you come to the Gate when you knew we kill your kind?” he asked.
Zo chose her words carefully. Tess’ life depended upon them. “Why are you so convinced I’m a Wolf?” “The Wolf I captured had that same mark on his shoulder.”
Zo opened her mouth to speak but no words came. The mark of the Allies was a well-kept secret. She wouldn’t be the one to divulge it. “The waxing moon is a common symbol of hope. I’m surprised you’ve never seen it before.”
“You look like a Wolf too.” Gryphon’s face colored and he looked away.
Zo sighed inwardly. It always came back to her cursed face.
“Either kill me or don’t. Nothing I say will sway you.” She folded her arms and showed him her back. It was the ultimate sign of disrespect inside the Gate. She braced herself, ready for him to strike her, but nothing happened.
A lifetime passed before she heard the crunch of his approaching footsteps.
Gryphon walked around to face her. This was it. Tonight she would join her parents on the other side of this cruel life. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Please let Tess be safe. Please let her not mourn my death. Let Commander Laden find her.
Warm hands clamped down on her tied wrists.
Zo’s eyes shot open and all of her fears raced back in one swift, agonizing moment: torture, no body for Laden’s men to find, Tess alone, the Gate Master. “No, no. Don’t take me back there. Please!” her voice slipped and cracked. “Please! I’ll do anything! Just don’t take me to the Gate Master!”
Gryphon pressed the blade of his short sword to her neck. “I don’t trust you, Wolf,” he whispered. “If you ever do anything to harm my people, I swear I will end your life in a way that will make you regret ever surviving this night.” Joshua ran up and hugged Gryphon. “Thank you! Thank you!”
Gryphon yanked the band from her wrists and walked away, leaving Joshua and Zo to stare at his back in the moonlight. Zo sunk to her knees. “I don’t believe it.” She held her unbound hands to her cheeks, her jaw hung slack.
Joshua put an arm around her. “Welcome to the family, Zo. I think he likes you.”
Jennifer has three children who are experts at naming her characters, one loving, supportive husband, a dog with little-man syndrome, and three chickens (of whom she is secretly afraid).
Visit her online at jajenkins.com
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