Tag Archives for " science fiction "
Dindi is kidnapped to be the bride of a shark... To escape she must untangle a terrible curse caused by a love and magic gone wrong.
This stand-alone novella is set in Faearth, the world of The Unfinished Song. Available here ONLY.
The Unfinished Song - This Young Adult Epic Fantasy series has sold over 70,000 copies and has 1,072 Five Star Ratings on Goodreads.
Check out this new YA dystopian series: The Breeders.
“When the Breeders come for ya, there ain’t no escape. They strap ya to a bed and all ya hear is the thud of your heart and the cries of your friends as they wheel ya down to hell. Then the doctors come. You squeeze your eyes shut and pray you can forget. But ya never do.”
Sixteen-year-old Riley Meemick is one of the world’s last free girls. When Riley was born, her mother escaped the Breeders, the group of doctors using cruel experiments to bolster the dwindling human race. Her parents do everything possible to keep her from their clutches– moving from one desolate farm after another to escape the Breeders’ long reach. The Breeders control everything- the local war lords, the remaining factories, the fuel. They have unchecked power in this lawless society. And they’re hunting Riley.
When the local Sheriff abducts the adult members of her family and hands her mother over to the Breeders, Riley and her eight-year-old brother, Ethan, hiding in a shelter, are left to starve. Then Clay arrives, the handsome gunslinger who seems determined to help to make up for past sins. The problem is Clay thinks Riley is a bender– a genderless mutation, neither male nor female. As Riley’s affection for Clay grows she wonders can she trust Clay with her secret and risk her freedom?
The three embark on a journey across the scarred remains of New Mexico– escaping the Riders who use human sacrifice to appease their Good Mother, various men scrambling for luck, and a deranged lone survivor of a plague. When Riley is forced into the Breeder’s hospital, she learns the horrible fate of her mother—a fate she’ll share unless she can find a way out.
When the dust cloud appears, we know they are coming.
My mama and I spy the cloud churning up the road at the same time. Her potato peeler clatters to the porch floor, sending goose flesh over my arms. I stare at the cloud kicked up by dozens of approaching tires and then back to my mother. There’s no mistaking it. The fear is written on her face.
She grips my shoulder, hand already shaking. “Get in the cellar.” Her face tightens. “Now.”
Her rocking chair scrapes against the porch floorboards. She yanks open the screen door and runs into the house, yelling for my brother.
I stand up, my own hands trembling now. The advance of the dust cloud has me riveted, like an animal caught in headlights. It’s what we’ve drilled for, prepared for, whispered about at night. And now they’re coming.
My mama’s frantic screams pierce my thoughts. “Riley, the storm cellar! Hurry!”
I shake myself out of my stupor and force my jellied legs to move. Running into the house, I spy my stepfather, Arn, at the pitted kitchen table. He slips round after round into his hunting rifle, his calloused fingers fumbling for more in the box that holds too few. He drops one. It hits on the floor and rolls under the table.
“Gawddammit!” he swears. His leathery forehead wrinkles as he searches frantically.
I run over, grab it and hand it to him. The bullet feels cold against my hot palm.
His eyes latch onto mine and a sadness creeps over his face. This frightens me more than anything. He grabs our pistol off the table and thrusts it forward. “You’ll need this.” His eyes say one gun won’t be enough.
The revolver is heavy and solid in my trembling hand. I curl my fingers over the wooden grip, worn smooth with use. I let my index finger stray to the trigger, place my other hand under the grip like he taught me and aim at the dust cloud. I look up at him, unable to ask what I need to know.
In this moment Arn looks old. His sun-beaten face is carved by wrinkles and his forehead is dotted with sweat. The patched overalls sag on his too-thin body. Before this he was out milking the cow or mucking out the barn, mundane, boring tasks that I wish he could go back to now. Arn grabs both my shoulders and fixes me with frightened blue eyes. “You ‘member what I taught you?”
“Is it the Breeders? It is, isn’t it?” My voice breaks with the terror that’s sticking to my insides and knotting my stomach. Arn says nothing. He doesn’t have to. His face tells me everything I need to know.
“I can fight.” The gun trembles, but I lock my elbows and grit my teeth. I want this chance to face the people who’ve been hunting us our whole lives.
Arn shakes his head, the lines around his mouth deepening. “Soon’s they see you, they’d kill the men and take the women. Get in the cellar. I’ll handle this.” His weathered hand squeezes mine. It’s the most affection he’s shown me in months. I savor the roughness of his palm. Then, quick as it came, he drops my hand and goes back to slipping bullets into his rifle, his eyes marking the approach of our enemies.
From behind me: “Riley?!” My mama is near hysterics.
“Coming!” I sprint through the old farmhouse, the boards moaning beneath my feet. I skid to a stop at our bedroom and scan it for my brother. Both beds lay empty. Ethan’s boots lie on their sides under his bed. His comic book is forgotten on the floor. He’d never leave it there on a normal day. But this isn’t a normal day. Angry motors growl closer. How soon before they get here? Minutes? Seconds?
I burst through the back door. The storm cellar sits fifteen paces from the house, dug deep in the ground. When we moved in six months ago, my mama showed us the cellar that, when shut, folds neatly into the dusty landscape. We’ve taken pains to camouflage the doors, but will it be enough?
The cellar doors yawn wide, revealing the dark earthen hole. My mama crouches at the cellar’s mouth, her hand-sewn cotton dress gathering around her knees. My little brother, Ethan, descends the ladder. His hand clutches her scarred one for a moment before he disappears into shadow. He’s gone. An urge to sob washes over me. I bite it back and run over.
My mama turns, searching for me. From this angle she is breathtaking in her loveliness. Her shoulder-length black hair shines in the hazy sunlight, and her left cheek is supple and pink. She’s a beauty queen, a ten as Auntie says. It’s the other side of her face that marks the horrors she’s seen. Red angry burn scars travel her neck and face. Her skin bunches and grooves like a pitted dirt road. Her left ear is only a ragged, red hole. Yet, I rarely notice her burned face. This is the way she’s looked as long as I can remember.
I step to the edge of the cellar and peer at my brother. From the bottom of the hole, his eyes are wide as a jackrabbit’s caught in my snare. His lower lip trembles. He looks five instead of eight. “It’s okay,” I lie.
My mother grips my shoulder and presses down. “Get in.” Her voice is a choked whisper. She glances back at the dust plume. The gray cloud hangs huge, blocking out the horizon, a tornado set to tear our world apart.
I take a step back and narrow my eyes. “You first.”
“I have to get Bell.” She looks towards the upstairs window.
I grip her arm. “No! They won’t take Auntie. She’s too old.”
My mama pulls me to her chest in a brief hug. Then she scrambles out of my clutches. I claw for her dress, but she’s gone. “Don’t go!”
“I love you!” she yells over her shoulder, her voice full of tears. The back door thwacks as she disappears inside it.
“Come back!” I yell, but it’s too late.
I stare at the door, wondering if I’ll ever see her again.
Check out Roy Huff’s latest release, Book 3 of his Everville series, The Rise of Mallory.
As the epic journey continues, a victorious Owen Sage stands undefeated against his enemies. His last battle in Everville gave rise to a new insidious evil, Mallory; whose determination to defeat him opens an unexplored Pandora’s box. Owen’s search for truth will unveil the mystery and surprising insights surrounding himself and his friends at Easton Falls University. New creatures will be uncovered and the true value of friendship will be tested, as Owen embarks on yet another battle in Everville.
Amelia sat down next to Owen and started watching the movie with him, but not before she purposely messed up his light brown hair with her hand after sitting down.
“Hey! Quit that,” Owen said with an irritated expression on his face.
Owen then reached over and did the same thing to her. She chuckled, turning her attention to the television screen.
‘You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There’s more gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!’
Owen lost himself in the screen, as he often did when watching something he was interested in. He imagined himself as Ebenezer Scrooge looking upon Marley’s ghostly face. Marley’s face morphed into the image of Owen’s father, the same image
that was the face of The Second Pillar.
Owen shook it off and got up to go grab some leftover turkey from the refrigerator. He reached in and pulled out a leg and some moist dark meat with a bit of gravy and stuffing. He popped the plate of food into the microwave for a minute and then returned to the comfort of the couch.
In the Kingdom of Destiny, King Chance decreed any female be she high or low born may earn a place at court by winning an archery competition known as the Tournament of Chance. Although no commoner has ever won before, this is Heather’s year. To prevent her from winning the tournament, however, King Chance will stop at nothing. The king does not yet realize Heather of the Jagged Peaks will be the spark that ignites a revolution — in time.
A muscle in Dane’s jaw rippled. “We must move faster. The longer she’s alone, the more likely it is she’ll encounter something dangerous.”
“She’s done well enough so far, no thanks to you,” Joe muttered.
Dane peered at Joe with narrowed eyes. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You’ve shown your distaste for Heather upon more than one occasion.”
“I would never let my personal feelings interfere with my duty to protect the child,” Dane exploded.
“Really? Then why is she lost?”
Dane hands formed fists at his side. As the two men squared off, Shimmer stepped in between. “Jovander, I’ve known Dane much longer than you have. You accuse him unjustly.”
“That is so,” Manny concurred.
“No, no. Don’t bother to defend me. It won’t make a difference. Jovander Chance has a deep seated resentment toward the royal class and doesn’t believe we could ever act unselfishly,” Dane scoffed.
“Forgive me for saying so, but this whole quest is selfish!” Joe yelled. “If it succeeds, you Ormvalders resume ruling the kingdom. Heather gets nothing except for a pat on the back. She’s the only one of us here who has acted in an unselfish manner.”
“You’ve acted unselfishly too, Joe,” Manny said.
Dane smirked. “No, he hasn’t. Haven’t you noticed? Young Joe is quite taken with the lass.”
Joe flushed bright red. “Don’t act so smug, Your Highness. I’ve seen the way you look at her.”
“First you practically accuse me of doing her in, and now you accuse me of having designs on the woman?” Dane thundered. “Make up your mind.”
“First you call her a child, and now a woman?” Joe pointed out. “You should make up your own mind.”
A long, smoldering silence followed in which nobody spoke.
Today I’m excited to feature the dystopian science fiction series, The ELE Series.
His hair is so dark that it nearly looks black on most days. Today, when I look at it just the right way I can see the deep brown and chestnut colors that stand out underneath the light. I also notice that his eyebrows furrow in and his eyes squint ever so slightly when he’s concentrating. It’s endearing.
I inch myself closer so I can see more of his eyes. The deep emerald green that he once had is now completely replaced with the most unique shade of navy blue that I’ve ever seen. It starts out dark, almost black around the outer part of his eye and then fades into a lighter, yet still navy shade of blue as it leads into his pupils. Both of his eyes are completely changed and I wonder why only one of mine has changed.
“What are you doing?” I know I’m blushing and it’s possible that I should feel self-conscious, but nothing about Alec’s stare makes me feel unsure of myself. If anything the look that he’s giving me makes me feel beautiful and more confident.
“I figured if you got to study me for an uninterrupted five minutes then I should get to do the same to you.” He smiles.
“Oh, you saw that?” I push some of my hair behind my ear.
He nods his head but continues to appraise me.
My body feels warm and flush and the butterflies are dancing around again in my stomach. The silence is killing me so I decide to break it. “So, what exactly are you studying?”
“Hmm, an exquisite specimen really.” He says in his best official scientific voice.
“It all comes down to one simple fact – the Children of the GEM are perfect. We are the ugly and imperfect. We are the Blemished.” In a world filled with stunning clones Mina Hart is Blemished. Her genes are worthless and that takes away her rights: her right to an Education, her right to a normal life and her right to have a child. Mina keeps a dangerous secret which she never thought she could share until she meets Angela on her first day at St Jude’s School. But their friendship is soon complicated by Angela’s adoptive brother Daniel. Mina finds herself drawn to his mysterious powers and impulsive nature. Then there is the gorgeous clone Sebastian who Mina is forbidden from even speaking to… The Blemished is a frightening take on a fractured future where the Genetic Enhancement Ministry have taken control of Britain. It will take you on a ride filled with adventure, romance and rebellion. A beautiful world comes at a price…
I entered the classroom. It felt wrong. The chairs were arranged differently – pushed together into a circle. The rest of the Blemished girls stood around unsure of where to sit and why the strange arrangement. In the centre of the circle was a single chair as though one of us would be the focus.
“Everyone take a seat except Miss Hart.” Mrs Murgatroyd’s voice made me jump. There was a hard edge to it, even colder than usual. I shivered. “Miss Hart, I believe there is a place for you in the middle of the circle.”
With shaking legs I stepped through a gap between two chairs and made my way to the centre. I turned and eyed each of my classmates in desperation while Mrs Murgatroyd looked down at me with a strangely tense smirk on her face. It was as though she was mentally battling with an inner conflict. It made her look frightened and cruel in equal measure. With my chest feeling tight and my breathing coming out in rasps I took my seat in the circle. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Angela’s concerned face.
“For today’s lesson I needed an example, which is why you see Miss Hart at the centre,” said Mrs Murgatroyd as she slowly walked around the outside of the circle. “Today’s lesson is about boys. You see, there are some among you who seem to have had some experience in this area. Isn’t that right, Miss Hart?”
“I… I… suppose,” I stuttered.
I tried to rein in my emotions, to concentrate and be in control. I couldn’t use my gift in front of all these people. It would be too obvious. I glanced down at my hands hoping that she wasn’t going to beat me in front of the class. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Billie shaking her head and remembered what she had said in the garden.
“Yes, Miss,” Angela replied with a shaky voice.
“Tell the class how a good Blemished girl should behave around members of the opposite sex,” Mrs Murgatroyd instructed.
“Not to look at them directly. Modestly,” Angela recited.
“That’s correct.” Mrs Murgatroyd never stopped her laps of the chairs with slow paces and her hands folded behind her back, the picture of control. “And why is that?”
“Um, we don’t want to give them the wrong idea,” Angela replied quietly.
“That’s correct,” said Mrs Murgatroyd. “You are not here to mate. Your genes have been proven unworthy. You are here as servants to the GEMs, which is your rightful place. And if you are lucky and behave appropriately for a Blemished then you may even get a job. Now Angela, could you tell me one more thing? How should a Blemished girl behave in the company of a male GEM?”
“W… we shouldn’t talk to them. Or look at them. Unless we are spoken to,” she answered quietly.
“Excellent,” Mrs Murgatroyd said. “Now, class. I would like you to answer together. Should you talk to a GEM boy?”
“No,” said the class in unison.
“Should you reveal your hair to a GEM boy?”
I didn’t join in the chant. At this point the tears began to roll slowly down my cheeks and my lips trembled so badly I couldn’t open them.
“Should you let a GEM boy touch you?”
“And how about you, Miss Hart? Should you let any of these things happen?” Mrs Murgatroyd moved into the centre of the circle and bent low to speak to me. I felt her hot breath on my cheek.
I shook my head feebly in answer.
“Yet you did. Didn’t you?” She yanked at my headscarf and began to unwrap my hair. Her pointed nails scraped on the back of my neck and her rough fingers pulled my head back and forth. “Do you think you are better than everyone else in this room?”
“No,” I said hoarsely. I could barely see through my tears now. I shut my eyes against the stares of my peers.
“Then why do you act like it?” she said cruelly. She grabbed my hair and pulled my head back. “You bring everything on yourself, Miss Hart. When will you learn your place?”
On the last word she yanked my head back even further and pulled a pair of scissors out of her jacket pocket. The rest of the class gasped. I stared at them – wide-eyed. For a horrible moment I thought she might stab me, but then she did something almost as awful. With a ghastly smile on her face Mrs Murgatroyd cut chunks out of my hair; big, uneven, ugly chunks. I watched in horror as the long strands fell to the floor.
Sherry has always known there was something out there.
She’s eighteen, works for a tabloid newspaper in Chicago, and has a brother, Danny who is a lazy mooch. They live a pretty normal, dull life. Then the moon disappears. People start to go missing only to reappear later…but different. Sherry has an abusive ex-boyfriend who shows up on her doorstep and claims to be one of these beings.
He’s no longer the same person in that body.
He tells her he has come to protect her and her brother and takes her underground, against her will, to save her. There they meet others like them. She begins to unravel the truth about Merrick, about what he’s really doing here, about the way he looks at her, about the crazy new dangerous world they live in. Can he convince her that he’s here to help? Will she like what she finds when she opens up to the truth? Will he be the one to love her when everyone else has failed her?
Will he be able to protect her?
“I was lying,” he confessed.
“It’s ok, Merrick. I get it. I’m sorry, I just…I just can’t handle it when people are upset with me and I can’t fix it somehow. I’ll stay out of your way, ok.”
As I hopped down from the counter and turned to leave, he grabbed my wrist and my skin immediately began to tingle.
“You’re so blind,” he breathed, shaking his head.
He steadied himself, took a deep breath, and then let me have it, all the while, keeping my wrist in his overly warm, shaky, gentle grasp.
“I did lie. I don’t like you, Sherry. I…I love you.” I heard my breath falter, but he continued. “I can’t touch you because it drives this body insane.” He was barely speaking, breathing the words as he leaned closer to me. “My skin… tingles and I can barely breathe, which you’ve noticed. I can’t explain it. I know you’ll probably hate me now when I tell you this, but I couldn’t help it. Sherry, I watched you, too. The first time I saw you was when you were little, when Danny was born,” he smiled while remembering “you were so protective of him. I enjoyed it, I thought you were my little helper, but over the years, I never stopped watching. I split my attention in half and took my full focus away from my charge, your brother. I felt so protective of you. Somewhere along the way it stopped being just protective. As you got older and I saw the person you were, the kind of woman you were, it became something else. I fell in love with you and kept watching and protecting you even when you were on your own. After I came here, when I saw you in your driveway…” He shook his head, his eyes closed. “I’m so sorry. I know what you must think of me, but all this time as a guardian I’ve never broken the rules, never gotten involved when I shouldn’t. I know it doesn’t matter, I’m not human, but I…just can’t let you sit there and think that I hate you when the opposite is true.”
It was all true, not a lie in the mix, which meant he did love me.
I couldn’t move or speak. Shock overtook me, as did those smoldering green eyes. He reached out and cautiously, gauging to see if I’d flinch, ran his free fingers down the inside of my elbow to my wrist. The goose bumps came and he looked at me for indication, good or bad? I had none to give him.
I was the one confused now. How could this perfect, selfless being love me, especially if he watched me over the years with my worthless life and pointless existence? I was short and awkward in my own skin. My lousy apartment had no real friends to fill it. My stupid job. My weirdo parents who didn’t even love us enough to stay with us. My horrible judgment I pounded into my brother’s head.
How did I always gauge every situation so wrong?
I realized I was panting. He looked worried, but I couldn’t stop. The hot tears spilled over and I wanted to run so he wouldn’t see, but then I guessed he’d seen it before, hadn’t he? He’d seen it all.
The tears overtook me and a low sob broke loose. I pulled my wrist free and ran to my room, too embarrassed to face him after I’d thought so many horrible things about him, but he somehow was there again, already in my room waiting for me. He reached for my arm, butretracted before he touched me.
I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Sherry. I shouldn’t have said anything. I didn’t want to hurt you, that’s the last thing I ever wanted to do. Please don’t cry because of me.
Wrong. All wrong.
“I don’t hate you,” I squeaked. It was all I could get to come out.
He thought I was mad because he watched me against my will, without my permission, without his call’s permission. But no, it was because I was embarrassed for being lame and not doing something more with my life. To have something for him to see that was worth something and not just embarrassment.
For some reason, I needed him to comfort me again, even after this, I was surprised that I wanted him to.
I’m sorry. Forgive me, Sherry. Just forget I said anything, all right? I’ll never bring it up again and I’ll stay away from you as much as I can. I promise. I’m so sorry.
He started to leave, maneuvering around me. I reached for his shirt in one swift movement, pulling my face into his chest. He seemed surprised, but not as reluctant as usual, as he let me and even wrapped his warm, strong arms around my shoulders. He continued out loud.
“I never watched when I shouldn’t have. When Matt and you…your showers, among lots of other things, I always tuned out. I know I don’t deserve it, but…please forgive me, Sherry. I never wanted to hurt you.” I felt one of his hands slip to the small of my back and to my utter embarrassment, my heart rate picked up and I felt a little sigh release from my lips.
College freshman Owen Sage has just started to understand the darkness trying to overtake Everville and the earthly realm. With the help of The Keeper and the Fron army, Owen has managed to buy some time, but new problems have already emerged, new secrets need to be revealed, and the race against time to stop Them from conquering both dimensions has only just begun. The Keeper, Owen Sage, and his friends at Easton Falls University must now battle threats from within. To do it, they must reunite with familiar creatures and join forces with new ones as they navigate their journey to the truth that awaits them in Everville.
The City of Worms is the second book in the Everville series. You can download it on Amazon, where it will be FREE November 14-18!
As he turned the first few pages of discolored notes, doodles, and other markings that he had scribbled on the margins, ‘Ubaloo’ was written at the top of the second page. Next to the word were small drawings of creatures that looked like tiny people, sketches of a humanlike race with perfect musculature, warriors who would intimidate even the bravest of men — that is, if they weren’t a mere twelve inches tall.
More notes were written below the images, foreign-looking letters and shapes. Next to the markings were etchings of the Fwaylan, ferocious doglike animals that resided in The Valley of Darkness.
Cleophas thumbed through the pages and skimmed the words he had written down so long ago. The notes were full of guesses and disconnected theories, but there was one common thread: there was an apparent convergence in Brackenbone, the land of the Ubaloo. It was a place the sketches depicted as one of the eight surrounding lands of Everville and a few days journey west of the Deep Woods, which was connected to The City of Worms across the vast expanse.
Cleophas turned the page. Stuck in the center was an old photograph of Dala. He pulled the photo free, and as he did, his eyes drifted sideways while he reminisced on some of the wonderful moments they had shared together. The shock of her passing had long ago given way to a resolute determination to give her life meaning. Even now, his face exuded a clear focus, undeterred by the reminder of her death or the current situation with Dante, who had been in a coma for the last couple of weeks. His eyes returned to the photograph before he put it back in its previous resting place and stood up from his kneeling position.
Meanwhile, in the brutal desert above the land of the giants, Oldrik, The Keeper who had betrayed Everville, paced back and forth as he pondered his options.
Elmer, one of Oldrik’s three Fron followers, standing at attention said, “Oldrik, what do we do now?”
“Let me think,” Oldrik replied.
“What are we going to do? What are we going to do?”
“I said let me think.”
Elmer plopped down on the ground in frustration, only to snap back up a few moments later. The intense sunlight scorching the ground made it unbearable. “Ouch!” was the word that escaped his lips as the rest of his body shot into the air. The Fron winced as the searing hot dirt burned his rear end. Nickelsized, fluid-filled blisters formed on the portions of Elmer’s thighs that weren’t covered by cloth.
Oldrik continued to pace a few minutes longer, ignoring Elmer’s painful lapse in judgment, and then he spoke.
“The Keeper and Owen’s stupidity will be Everville’s undoing. We must journey to the Dark Forest and discuss the matter with Them,” Oldrik said while thrusting his long wooden stick into the ground, searching for a hollow spot.
“Let’s do it! Let’s do it!” Elmer said as he limped along, unable to hide his injury.
“Yes. Let’s do it!” said Calvin, the other of Oldrik’s Fron followers. With those words, Oldrik’s rod found a weak spot, and the ground engulfed them as they collapsed into the land of the giants.
Oldrik managed to find his footing, and then took notice of the absence of the giants that were supposed to inhabit the area. “Let’s get moving,” he said as he picked Elmer up by his collar and helped him to his feet. Oldrik himself, however, was tired and slow, as were the rest of his followers.
Portions of the walls were covered in patches of faintly luminescent insects that lit up sections of the caverns. These were followed by areas of complete darkness, which lasted tens of seconds, and as they made their way through the underground passageways their skin darkened and shriveled. The brief periods of darkness made their physical changes appear more apparent with each revelation of glowing light. The Fron that followed Oldrik had started to lose the vibrant appearance that their species was known for, and Oldrik himself began to look more tired and aged than a typical Keeper. Despite their sluggishness and disturbing transformations, they continued for hours, and before long they had made substantial gains in their distance.
From atop the stairwell in his Everville workshop, The Keeper looked down at Sako’s assistant Toe and began to speak. “Oldrik and the others have abandoned us. Even now they are conspiring against us. They are misguided and will likely fail, but we can’t afford to ignore them.”
“So what can we do?” Toe said as he looked up at The Keeper.
“We will do what we have always done, and what we will always do. We will seek the truth, and the truth will guide us to the answer. It pains me to see Oldrik and our fellow Fron, whom we have known for ages, fall for the deceit that is the great lie. It’s an internal struggle that we all face, a battle from within that never ceases to rage. At any moment, we can allow ourselves to believe the falsehoods that are spread by our adversaries and the fabrications that Them have convinced even their own kind to believe. It’s this lie that has led to the creation of Them, and it is this lie that has convinced Them that we are the enemy.”
The Keeper turned and looked through the portal wall. He watched from a distance as Oldrik and the others transformed from their previous state into disgusting, hideous creatures.
The Fron who walked alongside Oldrik shrank and shriveled. They looked at each other in dismay as the final consequence of their betrayal manifested itself. Each of them stared with horror at their hands, which had begun to throb. After expending a surprising amount of effort due to the agony, they held their hands in front of their faces and watched as their fingers grew in length and narrowed in width while the tips pulsated
and enlarged to the size of large grapes that looked as if they were about to explode. Sharp nails grew several inches from their now engorged fingertips, and slime oozed out of their pores and began to wrap around their bodies. They writhed in pain as the same thing happened to their feet. The process, which had started off slow, had gradually accelerated and was now almost complete.
Few people even know that the Scion School exists. Tucked away on a private Caribbean island, the school is host to thirty-six exceptionally gifted students, all orphans. They train and study every day to prepare themselves for an immense responsibility, to lead humankind back from the brink of extinction.
At least, that’s what they’ve been told.
Among the thirty-six is Jacey, 17, one of four Scions in the Eagle class. She is the favorite of the 93-year-old headmaster, Dr. Carlhagen. But when Jacey overhears a conversation between a strange visitor and one of the school’s first graduates, she learns a stunning fact about her future. One that Dr. Carlhagen has kept from all the Scions.
Following the cryptic clues given to her by the school’s AI professor, Jacey races to untangle the truth of who the Scions are, and what the headmaster really means when he says they are bound for a great destiny.
The girl waved for Jacey to stop, which was very strange. Belle had done so much to avoid Jacey that something had to be wrong if she was waving Jacey down. Maybe she had sprained an ankle or something.
Jacey almost kept going. But if Belle was truly injured . . .
She left the path, picking her way through the jagged rock and Turk’s Head cacti. “What’s wrong?”
Belle faced her, hands on her hips. The glove tucked in her waistband caught Jacey’s attention. And where was the glass object she’d been carrying?
Belle pointed at Jacey. “You’re what’s wrong.”
Jacey sagged. “Did you really wave me over just to insult me?”
Belle looked past Jacey.
She turned to find two boys from Vaughan’s Nine standing behind her. Horace, a tall, rail-thin boy who rarely spoke, and Kirk, his exact opposite, short, squat and thickly muscled.
They took position to block her way back to the main path.
“What’s going on?” Jacey demanded. The menace in Kirk’s eyes sent a chill over her skin.
Belle clasped her hands before her and strolled forward. “You asked Sensei the other day when you were going to be punished. And I know you were denied your virginity examination. At least I don’t think Wanda lied about that. I’d like to help you with at least one of these problems.”
Jacey’s blood froze and she backed away. The boys took hold of her arms.
“I figure we have a few options,” Belle said, stepping closer. She smiled, showing an even row of perfectly white teeth. Jacey had never seen Belle smile before, and it sent another shiver over her skin.
Belle stepped even closer, so that her shadow fell over Jacey. “Kirk could deliver the punishment. Blow for blow, the exact punishment Vaughan received.” She tapped Jacey’s ribs and the side of her head to show the spots the kicks would land.
“But no. That would break your ribs and skull. You might even end up in a coma.” She caressed Jacey’s forehead, face full of mock concern.
Belle’s fingers slid from Jacey’s temple down to the waistband of her running shorts. She pulled it down an inch on one side. “The virginity test . . . I’m afraid that’s not my area of expertise. Though I’m sure Kirk here might be willing to try.”
Jacey acted without thought. She may never have learned kung fu or muay thai, but she had studied ballet for years. She kicked, wildly. Belle threw up her arms, which absorbed most of Jacey’s attack. But the strike drove her back.
The boys still held Jacey in their steely grips. Horace swept her feet from under her, slamming her flat on her back. Jagged rocks bit into her flesh, forcing a cry from her lips.
Kirk swung a leg over her and in a second wrapped her in a jiu-jitsu submission hold. Jacey struggled to breathe. The blue sky overhead started to blacken.
“Don’t knock her out,” Belle said in a singsong voice that reminded Jacey of Mother Tyeesha. An evil version of Mother Tyeesha. “Without pain there is no punishment. Isn’t that right, Jacey?”
Belle held a jar. She brought it close so Jacey could see what was inside.
A shaddle spider. The tan arachnid was two inches long from the back legs to the probing front ones. Yellow markings, like slashes, crisscrossed its back.
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Asha is the Queen of the Fey, genetically engineered immortal humans who feed on human souls to survive. But she’s running from her people. When she is found by her enemy, one of the Hunters of the Fey, she expects to die. Yet he’s oddly intrigued by her, and Asha finds herself falling in love with him, hoping she can find safety and the home she’s been seeking. Then she’s kidnapped, and everything changes.
Fallon is a Hunter. She’s looking for her long-lost sister, using an addictive drug to search through the stream of time. Her addiction leaves her dangerously exposed to her enemies but, consumed by her search, she doesn’t care…until her fellow Hunters start dying from a mysterious illness. She is torn between duty and desire, and must find an answer before they all die.
What Fallon doesn’t know is that Asha might just be the key to saving them all, if only she can find her.
And time is running out.
PLEASE NOTE that this book contains explicit language, explicit sex, and graphic violence and is not suitable for those under 18.
Time is running out for the Collaborative’s oppressive rule of the remote world Senca One. The government attempts to suppress the escalating riots, even while seeking to further their experiments. When their parents are taken, triplets Juliet, Cilla, and Emiah Tripp set out to locate them, and soon discover they are at the center of a hunt to capture them.
Evading the Collaborative across Senca One’s harsh terrain, they’re confronted with the trials of survival. They also discover something that changes the very core of what they are: they’re morphs. Struggling to adapt to the strange new ability, they question what they really are . . . and why. Are the rumors of experiments done on children true? Did their scientist parents have anything to do with it?
Their quest brings them to the capitol city of Brighton, which is on the verge of revolt. While searching for information about their parents, the Tripps align themselves with the very people fueling the rebellion. They unwittingly spark the revolution they want no part of and discover something more dangerous than they suspected.
The scientists gathered around the dish which held the precious fertilized eggs. It was a glorious day, a day in which they were certain they’d finally gotten it right. After the many failures, the babies born with no arms, or two heads, sometimes with the parts of other creatures who’d been introduced into the mix, after those, this was it. As a unit, they knew that it was their last chance, so they’d taken their time, perfected the splicing of the superior genes with the usual human egg and sperm. If they failed, their entire production facility would be shut down.
The woman who lay on the table did so with utter awareness of what was happening. She was a scientist also, as was her husband. They were not only part of the team, they were key in finding the exact formula needed for success. Unable to have children naturally, they’d been quick to volunteer. They were also aware that whatever children might come of the experiment would be raised here, in the lab. Part of what would seem to be a traditional family unit, but watched, recorded, tested throughout their lives.
The lead scientist, a woman, young for her position, gently lifted the Petri dish and began the method for transferring the genetically altered, fertilized embryos into the woman. She watched with bated breath as they entered the woman’s uterus, prayed to a higher being she didn’t believe in that at least one would take. She hardly dared hope for a multiple birth, illegal everywhere on Earth but here in this lab. If this worked, she’d be able to not only continue her experiments, using other willing subjects as carriers for the babies. She’d have the notoriety she craved that would justify her early promotion to this position.
The woman who lay on the table squeezed her husband’s hand. The scientist glanced up as a look passed between the couple, a look of some hesitation.
“You haven’t changed your minds, have you?” she demanded.
“Of course not,” the man said, refusing to meet her gaze. “We want this to succeed as much as you do.”
“Good,” the scientist answered. “Because there is much riding on this. I would follow you to the ends of the universe to make sure nothing goes wrong.”
“That won’t be necessary,” the husband says, finally meeting her eyes. “We’re in this as agreed.”
The scientist watched him for long moments. Satisfied, she removed her gloves. With a sharp turn, nearly military in its precision, she left the room. Now, it was just a matter of waiting, to see if the process was a success. May the gods help her if she’d failed.