Symbol of Treason: Book 1 in the Symbols Duet
In a world drenched in cruelty, Allison Red’s only goal is to maintain ambiguity to her identity, and to leave behind the life she escaped. Yet she remains captive to the shadows of the past, who are always close enough to send a chill down her spine.
Against all odds, Alice carves out a small existence in the foothills of Colorado: friends, kinship she calls family, and a small business. But it isn’t until Alice meets a stranger that she admits to herself how alone she truly is.
Logan Snow had it all; parents he loved, physical attributes he didn’t deserve, and a future so sweet he could taste it.
But that was a long time ago, and Logan is no longer the same man. Revenge is the only fuel left in him and the day Logan sees Allison in the flesh, his plan couldn’t have come with easier bait.
If only fairy tales were real. If only life offered everyone justice. If only…it didn’t screw you.
“You’re kind to flatter me, Mr. Snow; generous even. But let’s be realistic; everyone in your building looks like they just came off the cover of Vogue. Hell, even the sixty something year old red head had more class than I do. Whatever game you’re playing, whatever bet you made, I assure you that you’re wasting your time.”
“What I choose to dedicate my time to, Allison, is never a waste.”
“You’re entitled to your perspective as I am mine, Mr. Snow.”
“I’ve asked you to call me Logan and I’d prefer not to repeat myself.”
I opened my mouth only to shut it, which he clearly took as a victory if judging by the self-gratified curve of his lips. But more interestingly, his smirk didn’t bother me. Instead I felt oddly happy to have pleased him.
“Share a meal with me.”
“Can’t or won’t?”
I lowered my gaze, unable to watch the sincerity of his disappointment. It was easier to pretend he was merely being charming.
“You feel it. This pull. This ravaging sensation whenever we’re together.”
It wasn’t a question, so I found no reason to supply an answer.
Logan stepped impossibly close and suddenly there wasn’t enough air in the tiny space between us. His palm was warm as it caressed my cheek and against wisdom, I leaned into it. My lungs were heaving, my pulse racing and I felt hyperaware. My eyes shut tight with great strain, yet I sensed his every move; his every breath.
His hands were wound into my hair as they cradled my head. Logan lowered his forehead to touch mine and I could feel the tension rolling off him in waves, each rippling through me in search of release.
“You call to me like a siren.” He breathed.
Somehow I understood his meaning, for I felt much the same about him. I sensed his reluctance to fully embrace what seemed to keep pulling us together and somehow that hurt, even though I was doing the same. Logan’s breath was hot against my skin and each time his mouth released a breath, my lips trembled with the urge to lift just high enough to touch his.
We stood there, deeply connected and yet still light years apart. I clung to these shared seconds like dreams of the impossible. I memorized the feeling of his warmth; more soothing than the sun…and the ache of it. I wanted to stop time, forget all else, and melt beneath Logan’s lips pressed against my forehead. If wishing worked, I would’ve wished for nothing else.
But as I dreamed from behind my closed lids, I couldn’t dismiss my fear. A warning—it was time to go.
“Take care, Logan Snow.”
My feet felt heavy with lead, my heart wounded. I made my way to my Pilot and swung open the door, fully aware of every added inch between us. Faintly I imagined Logan sweeping me off my feet, whisking me off to a Happily Ever After; but in real life you couldn’t write an alternate ending if unhappy with the way the story was headed. The hero wasn’t bulletproof and bombs didn’t get disarmed three seconds to detonation. In real life people cried, bled, died, and love couldn’t cure evil. I knew this, and paid a high price for the lesson. So when Logan’s fairytale rebuttal never came, I slid into my car, closed the door, and drove away without looking back.
Symbol of Redemption: Book 2 in the Symbols Duet
Symbol of Redemption is the highly anticipated conclusion to Symbol of Treason.
Don’t miss the finale that will have you screaming. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, well…, that’s debatable.
As The Brotherhood closes in, the stakes are as high as they come. Everyone is on edge, and Alice finds herself more lost than ever as her heart is torn to shreds. She’s desperate to discover all that was Logan Snow before he became the monster she married. But Logan refuses to give her any insights into his former life, knowing full well that once everything is revealed, Alice will be gone.
Will Alice find the strength to fight to the end, or will the truths of the past prove too much to bear?
Will Logan find a way to save them from a war determined to destroy them, or was the battlefield rigged from the beginning?
And when you’re faced with your own mortality, will forgiveness wash over you, or will you take vengeance to your very grave?
As I reached the summit of the mountain my last thought lingered, the thought I could never find resolution to. Why did she die and I…spared? Was life really a series of moves? Or was it simply a gamble disguised as choice?
Neither option provided relief. Neither road led to an outcome that offered peace for the guilt of failing the only angel I had known in this land of carnage.
I stepped closer to the edge of the cliff, and knew if Logan was here, he would’ve pulled me back. But he wasn’t, and I didn’t want him to be.
My heart was racing, the gusts of wind aimed upward from my feet—whispered how easy it would be to soar. Soar until the pain of memory was no longer piercing my wounded heart like a burning dagger. The adrenaline was strong, the pull stronger, and I wouldn’t step back. The bouquet tucked within one hand found its way into my line of sight and I wept.
I sank to the cold ground, unbothered by the ice pressed against my backside as my feet dangled over the edge of the perched rock, daring to crumble beneath my weight and plummet; me along with it.
“I don’t believe I’m strong enough anymore, Mama. I thought that Logan’s love would pull me out forever and do away with the fear but instead…my hatred grows. The more I allow the dream of a future to linger, the hotter my fire burns.”
With shaky fingers I untied the ribbon holding together the stems of delicate flowers. Taking one, I threw it over my knees, watching as it gracefully descended to inescapable demise.
“I’m sorry I didn’t understand you more while you were still with me.”
“I’m sorry for not being stronger for you.”
“I’m sorry your kind spirit was punished by those meant to protect you.”
Three stems more.
“I’m sorry…I was a coward…I’m sorry I didn’t fight for you…I didn’t try harder, I didn’t scream louder or find something to help us escape, or rip Boris apart with my bare hands for hurting you the way he did. I’m sorry, so damn sorry for it all. I hate it all and I can’t move on. It suffocates me and I have to shut you out just to catch my breath because you deserved better! This world screwed you. It betrayed a Father I never knew, it abandoned me, and I can’t understand it! I cannot…I just…I miss you, Mama. I miss you so damn much. I want you back, please…”
The remainder of the stems followed the others to a grave hundreds of feet below that no one would ever find.
It was the fifteenth of December.
People say it gets easier with time, I haven’t found that to be true. Not in my case. My body shook with grief I couldn’t let go of. I didn’t own anything of my mothers. Not a single photograph or trinket. All I had were memories, and even those I didn’t truly own. Fear reigned over it all.
Logan set out on a journey to avenge those who’d wronged his parents, but me…I was too afraid when it came down to it. Too weak to give my mama the justice this world would not. I’d failed her.
The sound behind me was too heavy for a stray animal and too steady to be a random sound of wilderness.
“You shouldn’t have come.” I yelled, but heard nothing more than the advancement of his approach.
My body was shivering severely now. Shaking with a force I couldn’t control. My blatant disregard for safety was reckless. I lacked reason and was being stupid, that’s all there was to it.
His steps were steady and encroaching until his arms snaked around my body and pulled me back from the ledge. Logan fell to the ground, and his grip around me tightened just the way I liked. I was shaking too hard to reciprocate his embrace. My teeth chattering and my spirit drifting to sleep.
Unzipping his coat Logan tucked me closer to his warm body, the scent of home assaulted me beautifully as the scent of Lily of the valley faded over the cliff side.
To be dead.
With the dead.
I pushed deeper into his chest, reaching for a place I couldn’t get close enough to. A place where everything was as beautiful as his embrace. Logan wrapped his coat as far around my body as it would go, infusing his warmth into my numb limbs. He tucked his head over mine and for a while we rocked back and forth as he kept my head secured sweetly beneath his.
“You cannot leave me, Alice. Please don’t ever leave me.”
His plea danced its way into my heart. A sad dance, as though it knew what was coming.
I couldn’t respond, for I could not find my voice. I wept. For a long, long time, I wept.
About the Author
As a Russian refugee, Nataly Orekhov at a very young age learned that life is anything but fair. If her toys and clothing were not donations from a charity or a kind soul, then they were acquired by a technique called Dumpster Diving. As the fourth of five children, Natalya was well versed in the dynamics of big families. Yet despite the bickering and slamming of doors, everyone knew that with this family, blood would always be thicker than water; the screams always took second place to their cheers for one another.
Today Natalya lives in a cozy home in Southwest Littleton, Colorado, with her husband and two young children. She’s known in her neighborhood as an exceptional baker and enjoys surprising friends with mouthwatering desserts. Though, moderately young, Natalya has earned several degrees in various disciplines of life—in hardship, heartache, and forgiveness when it’s the last thing you want to give. Yet in the midst of such a grueling education, Natalya has also had the great privilege of meeting countless individuals with hearts larger than life, and spirits that rival the best of them. To such individuals she is eternally grateful.
Connect with Natalya
How long have you been writing?
Hmm, I suppose it depends on what you consider writing? I’d always loved to write: letters, essays, lengthy and detailed notes. During the beginning of my courtship with my husband, he was forbidden to see me (wow, that sounds like we’re from the eighteenth century), so we would keep a journal. We’d exchange it once a week in between church services. I’d write in it throughout the week: my thoughts, wishes, what I did daily…and the following week, my husband would do the same.
The birth of the Symbols Duet started in early 2012. From much encouragement by my husband I began to bring together a full length novel. The first book Symbol of Treason was published in November of 2015, followed by Symbol of Redemption that will be published on the 16th of September 2016.
I cannot see myself not writing, it’s become an even larger part of who I am than ever before. I feel overwhelmed with the need to put these stories on paper; an almost desperation to give these characters life.
Do you ever feel like one of your characters is you?
It’s said “write what you know”. Not sure by whom, but I’ve heard it a lot. The story is fiction, but with elements of all things real. Yes, my characters resemble those I love, or have known in many ways, including myself.
How many hours’ sleep do you get each night?
I laughed reading this question! You know those people who have a kid and boast about how their newest bundle of joy is the best sleeper. They sleep anywhere and can go a full five hours before waking for a feeding, and best of all, don’t even require you to jump through hoops to fall asleep to begin with. Yeah? Well, that wasn’t my kids!!! I was two months pregnant with my daughter when my back pains set in and since then, I haven’t know a full nights rest. My daughter is now eight and my son is five. In a nutshell…sleep? What’s that? I’m lucky to dose off.
Name one day job you’ve had.
Chick-fil-A! I’d just turned fourteen years old and it was one of the few places that hired at such an age. I was fortunate enough to have a group of people that I genuinely enjoyed being around and that made my time there something I remember with fondness.
Do you write every day?
Yes and no. My schedule is all over the place with my children and other various jobs; like accounting for my father’s business and baking cakes for neighbors! But before my head hit’s the pillow, you can be sure I’d written something, even if it’s just a few lines.
What’s your usual writing snack?
Tea. I wish it were coffee; Lord knows I love the smell and taste. But I have difficulty digesting coffee so tea is my ultimate love affair. Usually paired with something sweet, because duh?
How many hours a day do you write?
In my head? All day! On my laptop…a few hours if I’m lucky. ☺
Do you have a new story idea in your mind right now?
Yes, to the point that I feel it spilling out of my ears. I keep a journal by my bedside. It has all the stories that are desperate to be told. Three are currently at the forefront, begging me to devote more time to them. One, is Gabe’s story from the Symbols Duet. He was one of my favorite characters, and I’m eager to give him justice.
Do you ever write two books at once?
No. I’ve found that the story I start working on, monopolizes my time and therefore, until it’s done, I simply cannot move on.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Interesting question. At the risk of sounding boring: Ultimate Wisdom. I am first and foremost a Mother (oh, and wife☺), and this one superpower would be priceless!
Name one song that reminds you of your book.
Center of the Sun by Conjure One – beautiful song!
About how many books do you read each month?
Before I began the Symbols Duet, I averaged ten or more. Now, I’m lucky if I can sneak in two!
What’s your favorite movie?
Hands down, Forest Gump. I could be passing through a department store and if this film is rolling, I’ll stop and watch…and cry…and laugh…and feel so many feels, I feel like exploding!
Name one thing on your bucket list.
Write a memoir of my family’s journey, along with my husband’s family. It’s something I’ve been working on for a long time, but it’s also a project far more difficult than writing about fictional characters. The characters in the memoir are real people, and I owe it to them to convey their struggles, tragedies and humbling successes with the grace and impact they deserve.
Flowers or chocolates?
Not even a question—CHOCOLATE! But not the cheap stuff, I’ve tasted what Belgian chocolate has to offer, and everything else pales in comparison!
Name an author you’d love to have coffee with.
Ahh! That’s an impossible question! How can I pick just one? Hmmm, this by no means is the only author I want to share a drink with: C.J. Roberts, author of The Dark Duet. I was utterly captivated by this series, but probably for reasons different from most…that’s a discussion for another time.
What's the most words you’ve written in a day?
Hmm, I’ve never kept track, but it’s likely around the five thousand mark. A fun fact: I’ve deleted about ten times more words than ended up being printed in the first novel: Symbol of Treason.
What's your favorite fruit?
Sheesh, another impossible question. Watermelon. In fact, I’m going to cut myself a bowl-full right now!
In what room do you do most of your writing?
My bedroom. I live in a cozy house (another word for small). I don’t have an office and my children pretty much rule every other room, so my bedroom is where I can zone out into my imaginary world.
Who is your celebrity crush?
Okay, so before I answer, I assure you I’m human! Now…I don’t have a celebrity crush, and what’s more, I never have! I know! While everyone else in middle school, high school, college, or whatever had posters of their celeb crush’s, I had…crafts??? Wow, now that I really think about it, I really am weird!
Thank you for answering our questions, Natalya!