Author: Christine Fonseca
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Action-Adventure
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
When a new secret reveals both hope and betrayal, Dakota is forced to face a destiny she no longer wants. Now she must learn how to trust her instincts without becoming the thing she fears most—a killer.
Award-winning and critically-acclaimed author of fiction and non-fiction. Lover of books, lattes, and family. Passionate about humanity. Recent titles include Transcend, The Solomon Experiment series, and Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students, second edition.
When Christine isn’t writing a book, she can be found sipping too many skinny vanilla lattes next to a beach with a book in her hand.
For more information, visit her website – http://christinefonseca.com.
Seven padded across the room, watchful and silent. He’d learned a few things since the Architect’s death, lessons that included never making yourself too known to others and never becoming too confident of your position within the Order or with the Creator. Both would get you killed. Seven knew he had to play things cool if he was going to survive whatever the Creator had planned.
The floor was cold beneath his bare feet. “Be in touch with the ground whenever you can. You will sense more of the life around you,” the Creator said. “And that will fuel your abilities.” He drilled this into Seven constantly, so much so that he almost never wore shoes at the compound.
But this wasn’t his compound now. That had been destroyed by the very people he was meant to capture. This was something new, some place foreign.
Are you ready for your next assignment? The Creator’s voice soothed Seven’s restlessness.
Yes, Master. Always.
Come to my office. This is something we must discuss first. In person.
Yes, Master. Seven didn’t like feeling summoned by anyone, not even the Creator. Not that he could do anything about it. He was the subordinate, at least for now. One day he would have enough strength to be considered an equal. But not yet. For now, Seven was nothing more than an apprentice.
Seven glanced around his new room, smaller than his quarters in the compound. This place was more like a warehouse, and his room more like a prison cell.
All of the survivors, the few that were left after the vicious attack at the lab, had settled here a few days after the events. Considered nothing more than temporary housing, the facility still looked like the abandoned warehouse it was when they found it over a month ago. Nothing felt like home to any of them, least of all Seven.
He walked to the small mirror that lined the back of his door. His eyes still held the fire, the passion, from before the attack. But there was less naiveté now. Less hubris. Or superiority.
Memories of the attack filled Seven’s mind. The girl that caused the chaos and took the Architect’s life. The boy that fought like a samurai and threatened Seven’s world. The fire that spread through every room, killing many of the recruits, his friends. Seven was not as prepared as he thought; not as strong. He should have been able to stop the two from escaping. If he had—
Seven couldn’t finish the thought. It bothered him to think that his failures were directly responsible for the destruction of the compound. The Creator never blamed Seven, nor had any members of the Order. They didn’t have to—Seven carried the guilt anyway. It powered his motivation, gave him focus.
He noted the scar that stretched across his forehead, over his brow line. It hadn’t existed before that night. Now it served as a reminder, something his guilt could cling to whenever he began to release it.
Why are you still in your quarters?
The Creator’s impatience pulled Seven from his thoughts. Sorry, Master. I’m coming. He closed his eyes and refocused. There was no time for him to wallow, no time to wonder about the past. There was only now, and his need to prove to the Order—to himself—that he was a worthy heir to the Creator.
The walk to his Master’s office seemed longer than usual. Seven’s heavy footfalls on the hard concrete ground sent tremors up his legs, which settled in his torso. Each step brought a new trepidation. Seven again refocused. He couldn’t be in the presence of the Creator in this state. He had to settle his fears and be the disciplined warrior once more.
Voices emanated from behind the closed doors of the office. The Creator’s and more. Seven stopped and stared. Centering his mind, he pushed his thoughts through the heavy, metal door. The Creator’s office came into view. Sterile, stern, unyielding—just like the Creator himself. On the wall projected five pictures, each with one filled with a different member of the Order. Seven looked at his Master, noting the concern etched on his face. As quickly as he’d seen his Master’s emotions, Seven was thrown from the room and back into his own thoughts. He tried again to push into the space but was blocked. Whatever was happening, it was clear the Creator wasn’t about to allow Seven into his inner sanctum. Seven would have to be content to simply listen through the door.
Seven leaned in closer, struggling to make out the muffled sounds. He closed his eyes and focused hard.
“You have failed us for the last time, LeMercier.” The voice was deep, male. And clearly angry.
“What do you mean, failed? Nothing is lost. The experiments can continue.” The Creator spoke in measured tones. “We have everything we need.”
“And what of the Assassin,” a new voice questioned. “You promised she wouldn’t be a problem. She was supposed to have joined you, completed the mission. Instead she is on the loose, out there somewhere.”
Seven had heard this voice before. She had visited the lab once. The Creator had been agitated when she left.
Just like now.
“I am well aware of the Assassin’s whereabouts,” the Creator said. “She poses no threat. When the time is right, she will return to me of her own choice.”
“Can you be sure? Were you not just as certain last time?”
Seven pictured the same frustration on the Creator’s face. “Last time, I—”
The voices quieted, blurred. Seven pressed hard against the door, unable to hear another word. The harder he tried, the less he was able to make out. Only a few strangled words:
“Apprentice . . .”
“. . . will not fail . . .”
“. . . destiny . . . success . . .”
The voices faded completely and Seven edged back from the heavy door, his mind deep in thought.
“Come,” the Creator said, both aloud and through Seven’s thoughts.
Seven straightened, settling his mind before facing the Creator. “Yes, Master. What is my next assignment?” he asked, pretending he’d heard none of his Master’s concerns with the Order.
“You have questions,” the Creator asked. Clearly Seven needed to practice his blocking skills.
“You wonder why I am concerned, wonder if you should be concerned as well.”
Yes, Seven needed a lot more practice. “No, Master.”
The Creator scrutinized Seven, touching his thoughts. Seven stilled his body, his mind, everything. He waited until he could feel the Creator withdraw.
The Creator smiled. “Return to your quarters. We will talk tomorrow. This is not the time.”
Before Seven could object, the Creator turned his back, sealing his feelings and thoughts away from the young apprentice.
“Tomorrow,” the Creator said with finality.
“Yes, Master.” Seven returned to his room, a mixture of confusion and apprehension dripping from every pour. Whatever was happening, Seven knew he had to align himself cautiously, had to choose the right side of the impending storm. His survival likely depended on it.
But which side was the right side?