You probably don’t know me.
I’m Anzaria Claire Soleil, a young woman trapped in a caged city called Haven. In a city-wide mutation, I was given sparkly pink wings with random-as-crap powers. Their favorite pastime is flirting, but sometimes they heal people and sometimes—
But shh. We don’t talk about that.
This is my story. Where I tell of learning to live with wings, of coming to terms with the fact that my best friend is a fugitive… and that I’m falling in love with a dork who has wings of ice, a heart of gold, and secrets he isn’t telling.
Like how to fly. He picks it up so much faster than I do…
Okay. Let’s try this flying thing again. Wings, you had better listen this time.
I push my shoulders back and—whoosh—flip facedown. I fling my arms out, only I’m not falling. I sag there like a kitten from its mother’s jaws, in a face-off with the mat a meter and a half below. “Hey, mat,” I greet it. “Nice to—”
I splatter down, limbs sprawling, my palms and knees colliding with padding. My chin smacks the plastic and my jaw clacks shut.
Ornery should-be-amputated-freak-fairy-princess wings! They’d dumped me! Do they think they’re doing their duty to me just by being decorative?
“Hey,” someone says above me.
I flop over onto my back.
Dork Jace is hovering over me, his frosted-glass feathers flapping gently above him, shimmering as if strewn with snow crystals like some kind of snow princess. “Are you okay?”
“Be gone, paragon of perfection!” I moan, covering my face. “And leave us lowly incompetents to be wing-smashed in peace.”
“Come on, Anza, don’t you want to fly?” Jace capers around me in fluttery circles. “I’m so pretty,” he sings, kicking his legs up mid-air, “oh, so pretty! I’m so pretty and witty and…” He dissolves into laughter at my look.
I debate whether I can manage a wing-spurt and ram into his nethers.
But things aren’t all fun and games. Do you know why? Because of this:
“You have three hours to tell us where she is, or else we kill him.”
That’s the choice the Coalition gives me. To betray my best friend or lose the man I love.
But after the Coalition gives me that ultimatum, a shady interviewer appears and offers me another one: tell my story in secret so she can get it out to the world–all of it.
That’s why I’m telling you this—to save him.
The sweet guy they gave to me on accident…
The cager offers his own non-emotional smile. “You’ve nothing to worry about, Anzaria Claire. You and Jace Centennial Slocum won’t get into trouble for oxygen abuse. I’ve upped your oxygen allocation due to your new relationship status.”
I go completely still. “Relationship status?”
“You may now engage in mild sexual intimacy with Jace Centennial Slocum—”
“—such as kissing, embracing, light petting.”
“Light petting?” I splutter.
Jace hides his mouth, coughing.
“Your relationship has been registered with the Relationship Office. In one month you will be allowed sexual intercourse once a week.”
“What?” I jab my finger at the cager’s tablet. Oh, freak, oh, freak, Jace and I are registered partners. “No! Take that off! Unregister us!” No, don’t, I think at the same time, even though he has to, because this is a mistake and Jace might not even want to be registered. I don’t want to be registered, either, do I?
But the cager’s face remains bland, and I’m sure he’s doing this on purpose to antagonize me while inwardly laughing his ass off.
Slipping the tablet back into his waist holster, he breezes into the apartment. “Changes cannot be made until a week after registration.”
“So am I getting some light petting for a week?” Jace asks me, his face so fake innocent his smile is practically falling off it.
I can’t even. Find words.
But I have to find words now. All of them, about all that happened.
To save Jace.