Saturday, April 23, 2016


Ascenders: Sky Punch 

In the Midst—a place for those who die young—there are no rules except one.
And Walker Callaghan, dead at seventeen, just broke it. She briefly revisited her earthly life . . . and the punishment is eternal. Longing for her rebel love interest, Daniel Reid, Walker finds an ally in Cass, whose attraction to her is as alive as he is. “Life is short,” he tells her. “I’m banking on eternity. With you.”

In the second book of the Ascenders Saga, a realm-jumping journey takes Walker and Daniel back to life again when they search for something buried in history. They team with students from several other schools in the middle realm including a place for teens born with oddities. It’s home to the Claires . . beautiful, ruthless, and quite dead seventeen-year-old quads who each have a different clairvoyant gift.

Can Walker survive another adventure of an afterlife-time—or will she find herself on the downside of eternity?

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At the Academy, my afterlife high school, the campus was so vast that it was easy to forget there were tens of thousands in this student body. I had never seen them ALL convened together this way in what looked like the world’s largest rock concert or political rally. Everyone was here. I even spotted the newbies led by Miss Travis. And Harold was here, still wearing that unfamiliar bad-ass nonuniform.

I waded into the courtyard, which was filled with wooden benches for lounging, although no one was sitting today. The sheer capacity of the crowd moved everyone along like some sort of ocean wave. It was a pity because it would have been nice just to sit and enjoy nature, including the rows of tall pines decorated with silver tinsel for the holidays.

This sanctuary adjacent to the massive theater-like structure was buzzing with student conversations and bewildered mutterings about why or how an assembly came together so fast after the holidays. Stopping to pull one of the delicate white flowers off a jasmine branch, I gingerly placed it behind my ear, which was so girlie of me. Daniel brought out that side of me and I started to smile when I felt a large hand touch the middle of my back.

He would lean in to smell the flower, and then give me a quick kiss. Now this was a great way to start the day. . . .

Instead, he muscled me from one side, slamming into me with all his body weight. His friend wrapped a hand in my long hair and ripped it as hard as possible, like a hunter taking down prey with his bare hands.

My head snapping back, I easily crumpled to the frozen ground, landing hard on my palms and knees. I could feel a pair of hands behind me reach out and grab at my right ankle, fingers squeezing tightly like he was trying to break the bone. The sheer force threw me off balance as I wobbled recklessly to my side. He took one meaty hand and slapped something cold and tight around my leg just below the calf. It was metal and he yanked on it with such extreme force that it felt like a deep bite from a bloodthirsty creature sinking its sharp, jagged teeth into fresh meat.

The metal was now red-hot and burning as it burrowed even deeper like some sort of flesh-eating disease. The sickening smell of cooking flesh filled my nostrils as the device melted off the top layers of skin, still searching for some sort of internal landing pad.

It wanted bone.

Reaching its mark, it implanted itself with a dull thud that made my stomach lurch and my breakfast rise to my throat. I wanted to throw up, which was odd because you couldn’t get sick here. You couldn’t feel pain here; you couldn’t bleed.

But I felt sick to my stomach.

I felt pain that made my nerve endings burn like fire.

In the blur of what happened next, I saw the impossible: a small pool of my own blood on the pristine white pavement.

When I tried to reach down to touch the fire in my right leg, the biggest of the men kicked me in the stomach so hard that I crumpled belly-first, my face slamming into the ground. Biting hard into my inner lip, the impact was so seismic that my teeth actually rattled as my mind screamed for mercy. My heart, overtaxed and overwrought, was hammering an escape route out of my chest.

Metallic-tasting blood leaked out of my mouth and raced down my chin.

For a moment, everything went quiet. When I regained my senses, one of the foul men blew his rancid breath into my face as he squatted down to look at me, clearly enjoying himself.

“Get your skinny ass up,” he ordered, tangling his hands in my hair again like he meant to rip me to my feet.

Then came five words that I knew were fated.

“Walker Callaghan, you’re under arrest.”

They knew.

C.L. Gaber Bio:

C.L. GABER is the author of ASCENDERS, the first book in Ascenders SAGA. She is also the co-author of "Jex Malone." A lifelong entertainment journalist, she interviews A list film and TV stars for the New York Times wire and various other publications. C.L. lives in Nevada with her husband Ron, bonus daughter Sabrina and two unruly dogs. You can reach her 


Book 1: Ascenders

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