Excerpt: Afterimage by J. Kowallis [Giveaway]




(The Enertia Trials #1)
By: J. Kowallis
Publisher: Self-Published
Published: May 7, 2015
Genre: New Adult Dystopian
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Reggie’s dreams . . .
aren’t dreams.

Visions of the future flood her mind like shards of broken puzzles. Caged in her cell, every morning begins the same. She’s drugged, tortured, and images are torn from her memory by Public One.

Until the morning everything changes. The vision is different. The future’s never been about her, and now she knows they’re coming for her:


How will she convince them to keep her alive when Nate, their leader, doesn’t like or even trust her? To him, she’s a science experiment. A machine.

When Public One will do anything to keep her, Reggie must make a decision: remain a slave to her past, or risk her future to venture into a world more terrifying than she’s ever known.




“What happened, Reggie?”


Nate nodded toward her leg and she sucked in a deep breath.

Her hands reached for her knee and she tried to bend it against the brace. But the extra padding prevented her from doing much with it. “Nothing. Just something small. You should, uh, take the second shower in the master bedroom. London will have clothes for you when you’re done.”

Every ounce of him wanted to keep pressing her on the subject. But he thought better of it. She didn’t want to talk about her leg, or anything else it seemed. Quietly, he stood, still watching her carefully, and knelt down in front of her.

“No, Nate. Please, I’ll be all right.”

He felt underneath the robe around the padded knee and looked up at her. “What did you wrap it with?”

“My shirt,” she whispered and almost chuckled. “London helped. He felt bad it wasn’t him that got hurt.”

He narrowed his eyes on her. “What happened, Reggie?”

“I got caught behind London in the water pipe. With the water,” she added, almost as if she’d

forgotten about it. “He was fine. I made sure.”

London, the one person Nate worried about most. She’d kept him safe.

Nate cleared his throat and reached down to lift her foot a few inches. The muscles in her legs tensed and he glanced up at her face. Pain had clamped her mouth shut and she looked up at the ceiling. This time, trying to be more careful, he ran his hand up her calf before gently lifting. The opening of the robe fell back over her leg.

Reggie jerked and hissed. Nate’s eyes darted toward her thigh and back up at her face.

“Sorry,” she whispered. “I wasn’t expecting that.”

“What?” He laid her foot down again.

Reggie blushed and shook her head. “Nothing.”

It was too hot in Isaac’s home. Nate pulled off the unbuttoned plaid shirt he wore and set it on the ground. His dirty t-shirt hung loosely on him.

“I want to get a good look at that. It could be a simple sprain, but if it’s worse than that, we’ll have to figure something out.”

“I’ll be all right,” she repeated.

Against her protests, he gently felt around the knee. “I’m gonna re-wrap this for you.” He looked up at her, hesitating. “You trust me?”

Reggie took a deep breath and met his eyes. “Yeah.”

After examining the makeshift wrap, he found the end and untied it. The cloth was torn into wide lengths and wrapped tight. With each unwind, the cloth fell to the ground. When he finally saw her knee, he ran his fingers over the smooth but swollen purple skin. Goosebumps poked up on her lower thigh and down her calf. Slowly he moved her foot down and back up, watching the way the tendons and muscles moved, feeling for shifting. Nate saw Reggie grip the chair armrest and he released a sigh.

“Sprained. Not torn.” He frowned. “But that doesn’t make it feel any better. I’ll wrap this better for you.”

“Thank you,” she whispered.

Nate looked up at her. In the kitchen Nate found two long white dish towels. He paused before returning to Reggie, not entirely sure why.

Though she wouldn’t tell him the details, she’d watched over London just like she promised.

If she’d been caught in the pipe, that meant she almost drowned herself in the process.

His pulse raced. He swallowed.

When he went back, Reggie was biting down on her nail, staring at the ground.

“These ought to work.” He held up the towels.

Reggie gave him a tentative smile.

“Thank you,” Nate said, wrapping up her swollen knee.

“What for?”

“For watching over London. I owe you.”

“You pulled me out of here. I owed you.”

“I was a dick. I owe you more.”

At that, Reggie chuckled. “True.”

Nate finished wrapping her sprain and ran a hand over the taught fabric. “This should work better.”

Reggie’s breath shook. “Thank you. You need to go get ready.”

Pushing himself up, he left her and headed for the master bedroom. Minutes later, Nate stepped out of the raining shower and wrapped the light fabric “towel” around his waist. It was not the same fabric he’d been used to in a towel, but it worked better than anything else he’d ever felt. Water dripped from his long shaggy hair into his face and he mussed it with his fingertips. Electric titanium hair clippers and a razor had been laid out for him. He looked at himself in the mirror. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d actually looked at his reflection. It was an odd feeling to not remember himself. Not that mirrors had never been available—he just hadn’t needed one.

Nate picked up the clippers and turned them on. The light hum of the mechanism became louder as he placed it near his ear and buzzed his entire head. Tufts of dark hair fell to the floor around his feet. When he looked back at himself, his hair was only a quarter inch long. Not since the war had his hair been this short.

He stopped to stare at himself, the razor resting in his hand, thinking about Reggie. He couldn’t stop thinking about her.




Meet the author…


kowalJ. Kowallis, the only girl of four children, grew up in northern Utah with a head full of wild stories (most often unreal). At the age of 9, she wrote her first poem, a dedication to E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. It was so intriguing, her third grade teacher requested to keep the original. Between living in various fictional worlds, and spending time on her studies, she managed to graduate from Weber State University’s creative writing program. She now lives in Utah with her Mini Schnauzer, Etta, and spends most of her time still bouncing between this world and the fantastical while enjoying delectable über-dark chocolate and lavender baths. She enjoys dreaming about, flying to, and writing about distant lands (real or unreal).

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2 Thoughts on “Excerpt: Afterimage by J. Kowallis [Giveaway]

  1. Thanks for being on the tour! 🙂

  2. Hadn’t heard of this one before, so thanks for sharing!
    Have a great weekend 😀

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