by Claudia Blood
Turning eighteen in the orphanage on Kalecca means starvation for those who aren’t hired into a Family. Outside the Family compounds lies the jungle. And in the jungle lies death. And Relics—the only real currency on Planet Kalecca.
The orphans are Duff’s family, and he’s sacrificed everything to keep the orphanage running, even his chance to move on. Now, at eighteen, he has no choice but to leave. Without him to bring in extra money, the orphans will starve under the Company’s control. Duff's only chance to save them is to find a spot on an independent crew and hopefully find a Relic to sell.
A seemingly chance encounter with Z, leader of the most feared independent crew, offers Duff his opportunity to score a Relic. And offers Z a chance to relieve the guilt he feels over his past.
But a company assassin has plans to lay waste to Duff's future, and the orphanage as well.
Matilda from Chapter 4
Matilda sat at the table and threaded the needle. The demon alarm still buzzed in the background. She’d given the kids their assignments and tried to act as normal as possible. She didn’t want them worried about Duff or the demons since even the orphanage had company supplied protections. As long as they stayed in the orphanage, they should be fine.
Miss CuddleBug, Sheila’s doll, needed some surgery. Usually this sort of activity would calm Matilda. She checked her nails and saw the distinctive purple at the base that meant her nanites were activated. She took a deep breath and used the mantras her father had taught her.
Peace is within my reach.
Breathe and breathe again.
“Will Miss CuddleBug be well?” Sheila stood on her tip-toes to see her dolly on the table.
“I’ll get her fixed up.” Matilda stroked Sheila’s hair. Sheila’s complexion grayed. Matilda snatched her hand back. She had to be careful with the little ones when she was this worked up.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Claudia Blood’s early introduction to Dungeons and Dragons, combined with her training as a scientist and a side trip into the world of IT set her up to become an award-winning author of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
For her latest release, visit her at www.ClaudiaBlood.com
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