Thursday, 5 January 2012

Extract: Fated - Sarah Alderson

Today is the release day for Fated by Sarah Alderson and to celebrate Simon & Schuster are letting me share this extract with you.  I read Fated in December (my review will be posted later today) and absolutely loved it so if you haven't already got your copy I suggest you go out and grab one as soon as possible.  Just in case you need a bit more persuading here is the cover, blurb & an extract:

If you can't choose who you love, how do you know who to trust?

Lucas Gray is half Shadow Warrior, half human, and a member of the Brotherhood - a group of assassins tasked with killing the last purebred Hunter on Earth before she can fulfil a dangerous prophecy.  That Hunter's name is Evie Tremain.

Evie is seventeen-years-old, a waitress, and has just discovered she is the last in a long line of demon slayers - and an unwilling participant in a war between Hunters and Unhumans that has raged for the last thousand years.

When your fate is already determined, can you fight it?

Visit Sarah Alderson's website for more information

Extract from Chapter 2 of Fated by Sarah Alderson:

The back lot was empty except for the giant metal dumpster just to her right and her dusty old Ford parked a few metres to her left. There was a single light blazing above her head, illuminating the door and the concrete step she was standing on. She headed straight towards the dumpster with the bags in one hand and a tin of coffee grounds in the other – and that’s when she saw him, on the periphery of the shadow line, his coat splayed out behind him.

The hairs on the back of her neck bristled. She drew in a breath and did a quick calculation of the distance between her, the boy and the door.

But before she could figure out where to run to, the boy in the sunglasses stepped forward into the zone of light. She saw that he was a little bit older than her, maybe twenty or twenty-one. He was wearing black jeans and leather biker boots, and a black wrinkled T-shirt with some kind of slogan on it. A part of her brain registered that he looked ridiculous, like an extra from The Matrix, but the other part warned her not to tell him so.

At least not yet.

He stopped just in front of her.

‘Evie Tremain?’ he asked.

She froze, her mouth falling open. How did he know her name? Who the hell was this guy? As she studied him, she suddenly heard a voice in her head start screaming at her to run. She could hear her own heartbeat – it sounded like a horse smashing its hooves against a stable door. Her eyes darted instantly over the lot, looking for her exits.

‘Evie Tremain?’ the boy asked again, impatient now.

‘Who wants to know?’ Evie asked, buying time. The back door was about ten metres behind her or she could try to get around him and head down the side alley and out onto Main Street. She took a small step backwards. The diner was closer.

The Brotherhood,’ the boy replied tonelessly, closing the distance between them in a single stride.

Evie couldn’t rein in the laughter that erupted out of her. ‘The Brotherhood? Seriously? What is that? The name of your deathmetal band?’

The boy – whose face had been expressionless until then – suddenly frowned in confusion, as though he didn’t know how to answer her. The sound of crunching gravel broke the silence. Evie’s eyes flew to the far end of the lot, which was sunk in darkness. Was someone else there? The boy followed her gaze, looking over his shoulder.

Adrenaline pumped through Evie’s body in one giant surge. She dropped the trash bags and took a step back, twisting her body as she moved. She brought her arm up like her dad had taught her, fingers curled into a fist, and in the second that the boy turned back to face her, she smashed it into the side of his head.

The boy’s head spun with the force of the punch, his sunglasses flying across the lot.

‘Hit first, ask questions later,’ she murmured to herself. Her dad had always said it was better to be safe than sorry.

She turned to run back towards the door but the boy lunged for her, shrieking. She raised her arm instinctively, ready to smash it into his face again, but then stumbled backwards letting out a cry. The boy’s eyes were inches from her own, his pupils fixed and dilated. And the thing that had stopped her, and made her stomach scrape the floor, was the colour of them. They were bright, carnation-red and totally unseeing. The boy flailed his head from left to right, as though someone had thrown acid in his face, his outstretched hand groping blindly in her direction.

He’s blind, Evie realised, her thoughts assuming some sense. He can’t see me.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw a dark shape wavering behind the boy. It seemed to extend and stretch out, like a timelapse sequence of a shadow lengthening. And then it coiled like a whip and lashed towards her.

Evie dived. She threw herself hard to the left, out of the boy’s grip and out of the way of whatever was coming towards her. She heard a crack as it smashed into the tarmac and another frustrated shriek from the boy.

She staggered backwards, her eyes on the space that had opened up between her and the guy in the coat. The whip or rope or whatever it was was lashing back and forth between them. Evie’s brain refused to process the possibility that what her eyes were actually looking at was neither a rope nor a whip but a tail. There were scales on it and it moved like a rattlesnake. Ropes didn’t look like that.

The boy dropped to the floor now, and started scrabbling around on the ground for something. His glasses, Evie thought, spying them lying cracked in half on the asphalt by her car.

‘Need some help, Caleb?’ A girl’s voice called out from the edge of the darkness.

The boy with blood-red eyes swore at her in reply.

‘If you want help you need to put your tail away and ask nicely,’ the girl added.

The word punctured Evie’s brain like a poison dart. Tail. She tripped backwards, trying to feel for the door behind her. She stumbled on the step, and felt herself bump up against something solid. It wasn’t the door.

She spun around and found herself stepping on the toes of a white-faced boy. A girl in a neon pink minidress stood next to him, smiling surrrrprise.

Evie skittered backwards, letting out a yelp. How many of these freaks were there?

These two weren’t wearing sunglasses and their eyes weren’t red. The boy was dressed in scruffy jeans, bashed-up Converse and a Nix cap. The girl was tall with long black hair, and the bright pink of her dress clashed with the green tinge of her skin.

‘We’ve got this, Caleb,’ the girl in the pink dress called out to the one with the tail, not taking her eyes oF Evie.

‘Well, hurry up, would you, I don’t want to be here all night,’ another boy’s voice answered from the darkness.

So there were more of them over there, Evie thought, panic starting to weave its tentacles around her limbs. How many did that make? Four or five at least.

‘What do you want?’ Evie asked desperately, spinning around to face the girl and boy blocking the back door.

‘We want you, Evie Tremain,’ the girl in pink said, striding forward. She put her hand on Evie’s arm and Evie looked down, as her skin began to burn intensely.

She screamed and, with a final injection of adrenaline and anger, swung the tin of coF ee grounds she was still holding at the girl’s head. The girl let go of her instantly and started yelling.

Evie skittered back out of her way, skidding towards her car, dodging around the boy on the ground with the tail.

With the tail! Her brain screamed at her as though it wanted her to pause awhile and figure it out. But her arm was still burning, as though the bone itself had caught alight, and the skin was blistering and it was all she could do not to faint right there and then. She started fumbling with her one good hand for her car key, buried in the pocket of her jeans, and felt the sob start to burst in her chest.

The boy in the Nix cap was bent double, pointing and laughing at the girl Evie had hit. And the sound of it, the childish hysteria of it, was like a shucking knife opening Evie up. She glanced upwards even as she scrabbled for her keys. The girl was holding the side of her head, screaming and trying to scrape the wet coffee grounds off her face. She spat a gloop of saliva and glared furiously at Evie.

Evie’s fingers closed on her keys. She yanked them from her pocket, watching as the girl and boy moved in on her. She was just prey, she realised. She was completely cornered. There was no way out.

And then the sun came up. Or it felt like it. The whole lot lit up as if someone had flipped on some floodlights. The shadows wiped out and Evie was blinded. She threw an arm up to cover her eyes, trying at the same time to squint for the source of it. She could hear screaming and a hissing noise – the sound of wet meat hitting a flaming grill.

When her eyes adjusted she saw the boy in the Nix cap collapsed on the ground in front of her. He was sizzling and smoking and screaming like a stuck pig. The girl in the pink dress had him by the arm and was dragging him towards the trash container and the thin shadow it made on the ground.

‘Evie?’ a man’s voice yelled, snapping her out of her frozen state.

She looked up. She recognised the voice – the accent. ‘Yes,’ she answered, scrambling to her feet.

‘Get over here!’ he yelled.

She ran towards the source of the light and saw who it was. Victor Lassonde. He was standing there in his suit holding what looked like a torch in his right hand. In his other hand was something that looked remarkably like a gun.

Probably because it was a gun.

Evie jumped behind Victor, clutching at his arm, her heart rattling at a hundred beats a minute. A million questions ran through her head, the first of which was What the hell are you doing here?

She heard herself voice it.

He didn’t answer her.

‘Half-and-half, get the Hunter!’ someone screamed.

Evie looked over Victor’s shoulder. The girl in the pink dress was the one screaming. But who was Half-and-half? And who was the Hunter?

The girl dumped the boy in the Nix cap by the dumpster. He curled up in a tight ball, whimpering and steaming in the shadows.

The girl looked up at Evie, her eyes glinting. ‘The girl’s mine,’ she hissed.

Evie cowered backwards. She felt Victor edging sideways towards the door of the diner and followed his lead. But the girl in the pink dress with the greenish skin was blocking their way to the back door.

Victor had his back to Evie, his gun raking the parking lot in front. Why wasn’t he firing at these crazy people who were trying to kill them? thought Evie. Why wasn’t he aiming at the girl in the pink dress for starters?

Just then the girl lunged towards her. Evie let out a scream, and stumbled as though someone invisible had shoved her. Evie flinched backwards as she heard a gunshot. She watched the girl reel backwards, clutching her arm.

Evie reached for the handle just as a shadow sprang across it. She teetered as though on the brink of a waterfall, sound rushing her ears, goosebumps raking her body. Then whatever it was was gone, leaving only a reverberation in the air that echoed through her body. Evie’s knees smacked the concrete step and she let out a cry, but Victor hauled her upright and flung her towards the door.

Her fingers closed around the handle and she yanked it open.

***************************************

So what do you think?  Is Fated on your wish list or have you already got your copy?

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