Jill Williamson’t new realease, Outcasts, will be coming out on January 7th.
She has graciously given a sneak peek of the novel before it comes out…
And let me tell you,
this book is even more delicious than the first one.
So without further ado:
Kendall strode around the curve of Belleview Drive and fixed her gaze on the messenger sign at the end of the block. The flying white envelope on a red circle flickered in the night.
She wanted to run—to at least jog—but held back, forcing her legs into long strides. Kendall swung her arms and breathed in the scents of dryer sheets and waffle cones from the Belleview Laundry and Cinnamonster ice cream shop.
Barely four weeks had passed since she’d given birth in the Surgery Center, and only two since she’d moved out of the harem and back to the Midlands. Kendall’s medic had told her to wait at least six weeks before doing serious exercise. So Kendall walked everywhere, determined to firm up her abdomen, look normal again.
Determined to forget.
She wasn’t supposed to work for six weeks, either. But staying home with no baby to hold … Add to that her depressing thoughts, worry over the girls from Glenrock, and the task director general’s summons—it had been too much. She’d begged Tayo to let her come back to the messenger office early.
Kendall picked up her pace. What could the task director want now? He’d taken everything from her. She’d served her term in the harem, had given the ultimate sacrifice. This couldn’t be a surrogacy request. Safe Lands customs said she deserved a two-year reprieve for her service to the nation.
This summons had to be personal.
A taxi turned down Belleview and sped toward Kendall, its headlights blinding. She lowered her gaze. The vehicle passed—and the product expo on its side caught her eye.
The face of her son. “Welcome, Baby Promise” scrolled underneath.
Kendall stopped. She watched her son’s face shrink away until the taxi vanished. Fortune was mocking her pain.
What kind of a name was Promise, especially for a boy? More Safe Lands strangeness. Her baby would always be Elyot to her.
Kendall choked back her sorrow and trudged the rest of the way to the messenger office. She used her SimTag to let herself inside and set her messenger bag on the front counter.
A single bulb cast yellow light and hard shadows over the messenger workstations and rows of nearly empty package shelves. Kendall crossed the lobby and slipped behind the counter, her running shoes scuffing over the concrete floor. She walked down the first aisle of shelves, her shadow creeping along beside her.
This place had always been ghoulie at night.
The task clock hung outside Tayo’s office door, located at the back. Kendall tapped her fist on it, officially tasking out for the night, and started back toward the lobby.
A low moan rose from the dark. She jerked her head around, spine tingling. Cocked her ears.
No more sound.
Kendall peered through the shelves on her right. “Hay-o? Who’s here?”
A gargled breath. “Help me.”
The words squeezed her throat. For a moment Kendall couldn’t move. Pushing down her fear, she forced herself around the end of the shelves. Peeked down the next row.
She inched toward the third one.
Kendall glanced at her messenger bag. Her portable Wyndo was inside. She could tap Enforcer 10 for help.
She bit her lip, then eased around the fourth row. Halfway down, a man in a messenger uniform lay on the floor, one hand on his stomach, the other under his back. White-blond hair. Big feet.
“Chord?” Kendall ran to him.
Red everywhere, like a bottle of spilled Shower Paint. It had soaked Chord’s white T-shirt and the top of his green shorts, puddling under him. Still spreading.
She swallowed the bitter burning of nausea. “What happened?”
Chord lifted his hand. Kendall reached for his bloody fingers, but he pointed upward, to a large box high on the shelves.
“You want the box?” she asked.
He nodded and choked out the word, “Hurry.”
Kendall had to climb on the lowest shelf to reach the box. She held the shelf with her left hand and slapped the box with her right until it slid over the edge, careful to use her arms and not put strain on her stomach. She stepped down with the box, keeping her hand underneath to catch it as it fell. It was light and open at the top. She set it on the floor and pulled out a messenger bag. Chord’s? She met his gaze.
“Deliver,” he rasped.
“You want me to deliver your messages?”
“To the … addressees. No one else. Secret.”
She found four messages in his bag. Messages with no codes. In the Safe Lands, it was illegal to deliver mail off the grid. Enforcers monitored everything. She read the addresses. Chord worked the Sopris route, but these addresses were mostly in Old Town, which was her route.
“Chord, why do you …?” She looked up to find him staring past her knees. Unblinking. Unseeing. His eyes dull, mouth half open, face slack.
A breath rattled past her lips. She spun around, slipping in the blood. Kendall ran to the counter, withdrew her Wyndo from her own messenger bag, and tapped one zero. Her thumb—shaking over the glass screen—produced a one-eight-eight. She deleted the numbers and carefully tapped one zero again.
One ring and a female face showed on the glass. She had silver hair, mimicking Luella Flynn, no doubt. “Enforcer 10. Where are you located?”
“Midlands-east-messenger-office,” Kendall said, breathless. “A man’s been hurt. He’s bleeding. I think he’s … dead. Oh, walls! Don’t let him be dead!
Now, wasn’t that a great taste???
I know, right!
So here’s the deal,
if you head over and check out my post on The Scriblerians blog you can enter to win a FREE COPY OF OUTCASTS,
plus you get an extra entry for following this blog. 🙂
I love to hear from you. Leave me a comment letting me know what wonderful books you have come across so I can add more to my 2014 TBR pile. And if you enjoy my little blog then feel free to follow me (button on the top right).