After I Break
Before I Shatter #2
by Mandy Peterson
YA/NA Science Fiction
July 28, 2017
organized by Lola's Blog Tours
Cover created by. . .
COMING. . .
JULY 28, 2017!!!
On the heels of tragedy, Vita must stay hidden to stay alive.
Gemini’s Director has made a deadly move in his attempt to recover Vita as his second-in-command. Led by her ever-prepared rescuer Evan, Vita jumps headlong into the inner sanctum of the Undocumented — an organization united in their mission to save the chaotic purity of mankind. Allying with former enemies proves difficult, especially when they expect Vita to be the girl the Gemini propaganda created: a visionary leader, terrifying soldier, and advanced human. A girl she simply is not anymore.
When her mother finally reveals the secret of Vita’s origin to her, Vita wonders just how much her intended purpose determines her fate. Questioning her value and humanity, she would just as soon stay a regular person until intelligence uncovers a new mix of Vita 2.0 candidates under the Director’s harsh command — all children.
There’s no other option but to stop the Director:
a madman who has discovered that Vita is broken
and will go to any lengths to make her whole again.
You can find After I Break on Goodreads
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Excerpt Chapter One
Thick fingers coil around my upper arm, dragging me through the crowd pressing in from all sides. Tall, polished buildings made of stone and glass create a corridor, guiding us. Pop-up kiosks crowd the cement walkways, each table displaying specialty wares from food to fabrics. The rich aroma of coffee teases my nostrils. The happy jostling of this crowd directly contradicts the misery beginning to fill my heart.
An old man fighting for his life with an ax.
Losing the fight with a horrifying shot to the head.
My stomach cannot handle the overload. Evan insistently carries me through to the edge of the crowd, but my feet drag. Bile rises up my throat and spews all over the sidewalk. My rescuer pauses impatiently and yanks me along as soon as I finish, ignoring the disgusted cries of a woman now wearing vomit-spotted white pumps.
“Sorry!” I manage to choke out as he pulls me away. I yank my arm free of his grip and keep pace next to my partner who manages to look relatively calm but hurried. We get some interesting looks as we rush through the streets.
Evan is dressed sensibly in his jeans, t-shirt, flannel, and hiking boots. On the other hand, I am woefully unprepared for a trek through a bustling morning in a metropolis. Still clad in pajamas, wool socks, and bed-head, passersby glance at me as if I might be mentally ill.
Who knows? Maybe I am.
Wherever we are, it is a comfortable temperature out, warmer than the Swedish cabin that we disappeared from. The people sound different here, too. Their language is rounder, and the words run together. The English language is recognizable and gives me some measure of comfort. At least I can speak the language here. I keep my head down and follow Evan through winding streets to a large brick building with two large domed windows and a large clock in the center.
“What is this place?” I wheeze. My socks slip and slide on this floor, making me work twice as hard to keep up with his brutal pace.
Unaffected by my plight, Evan’s voice is stiff. “King’s Cross. Train station. They’ve got a place where you can change.”
My gaze wanders over the modern surfaces within this massive structure. People flow through the entrance and exits, living streams. Evan leads us to a row of lockers and pulls a key from his boot. I raise a questioning eyebrow as he fiddles with the lock.
“Grandfather and I prepared for this possibility. We’ve got tickets, clothing, money. Everything we need to get to safety.” He flings a gray duffle bag across his body and hands me a matching overnighter. “The ladies room is over there.” He motions behind me. “I’ll be waiting outside. Go get changed.”
I’m in shock. Slow to think. Even slower to speak. My brows furrow. “What — ?”
“Not now, Vita.” He cuts me off with a hand in the air. “There will be time for that later. Please, just go get changed.” His eyes plead with me. Just cooperate.
So I do. Surprisingly. I’m not used to taking orders any more, but now is not the time for me attempt to regain my dinged pride. Obviously. I have no idea what is going on, which sadly is a feeling I am starting to become familiar with. Betrayed by my sort-of boyfriend, deceived by my father, and targeted by an assassin in a Gemini jacket. Sure. I can acknowledge that I have zero plans, and doing something is better than the alternative. Even if it’s as simple as getting dressed.
After I slip on a pair of black leggings, black tank top, and gray loose knit sweatshirt, I lace up the pristine running shoes. My feet welcome the soft interior, the protection of real soles. My toes wiggle in appreciation, and I sigh. True to his word, Evan is waiting immediately outside the door for me. In his hands, two large paper cups of coffee, one he hands off to me as we walk. Wordlessly, he locates and boards our train with no issues. All I have to do is follow along.
The exterior of the train reminds me of a very long tram similar to the ones we had in the Lunar Colonies, but the interior could not be more different than those bleak boxes. Individual black leather seats pair off on either side of a center aisle. I run my fingertips along the cold seat backs as we meander toward the middle of the car. Bags jingle as passengers stow them overhead before sliding into their chairs. As I hoist mine overhead, Evan taps my forearm. He shakes his head ever-so-slightly. Do not stow your luggage.
Instead, we settle in with our bags in our laps. As the train pulls away from the station, I can’t stop myself from examining the changing scenery out the nearest window. Evan speaks to an attendant briefly, but my brain is firing rapidly. I can’t seem to find a single topic to latch onto. Catching my breath from the relentless pace through all of those crowded streets, I feel the heaviness seep in slowly through my pores.
Scrambled eggs with shards of glass scattered on their fluffy peaks.
Being knocked to the floor.
Pinned underneath Evan’s weight.
Seeing stars as my head makes contact with the hard wood.
Door crashing in.
Weapons trained on us.
George swinging the ax.
Then suddenly in another town, likely a different country from the way these people speak. Hurtling through swarms of bodies; now speeding through the landscape. No idea where I am or where we are going.
Tears begin pinching the features of my face. My knuckles turn white on the armrests. I blink as fast as I can. My mind grasps for something — anything — to keep these tears from spilling down my cheeks and shrink the lump in my throat. Warm hands peel mine from their strangle hold. They fit so well around mine.
“I need you to hold it together. Just a little longer, okay?” His low voice penetrates my grief.
“How can you be so calm?” My voice doesn’t match his. It wobbles and squeaks.
“Because I have to be. We can deal with this later. For now, we need to get to safety.” His rock solid expression leaves me conflicted. Should I feel glad or horrified that he’s not falling apart after what happened to his grandfather?
My lower lip trembles. The world has betrayed me. Gemini has betrayed me. “I thought we were. Safe.”
His hands squeeze mine. “Only 30 more minutes. Then we get off the train and take a car the rest of the way.”
“Where are we going?”
He leans in closely to whisper in my ear. “It’s a small base with the façade of a storage unit. They’ve agreed to help us if it should ever come to this.”
A sigh heaves his chest. Whatever the answer is, he thinks I won’t want to hear it. “The Undocumented.”
My eyes grow wide. The last time I saw the Undocumented, we were shooting at each other. My favorite teammate had been killed. How many times had they made an attempt on my life and the lives of those I cared for?
Seeing my wild look, Evan grasps my hands harder. “It’s okay. They aren’t what you think they are.”
“How do you know?” I rip my hands away and tuck them into my lap. “This is insanity! We could be walking into a trap!”
He sighs. “It’s not.”
“They could kill us on sight!” They would certainly have every right to. The faces of the three men I shattered nearly two years ago swim in my mind. Someone has to be unhappy about that.
“Because I’m Undocumented.” Evan declares, matter-of-factly. “They’re the people who are helping us. They’re the contacts who’ve been working tirelessly to give us shelter, identities, security, in case of an emergency. So believe me when I say this is the safest place we could possibly be.”
I clamp my mouth shut and recline my seat.
The first book in the series!
Before I Shatter (Before I Shatter #1)
Before I Shatter (Before I Shatter #1)
Vita must make the choice:
Continue risking her life for a cause she doesn't believe in
or make an unprecedented escape?
And here she is. . .
Mandy Peterson grew up all over Nebraska and eventually settled down there with a family of her own: husband, daughter, and son.
When she isn't writing about herself in third person, Mandy the high school librarian can be found digging through young adult and new adult lit. An avid reader of all genres (but she secretly told me she loves sci-fi the most), you will usually see her with her nose in a book or face to her Kindle app, iced or blended coffee drink in hand. A former roller girl and roller derby referee, she can also be found watching roller derby online or dragging her family behind her to cheer on teams in person all over their great state.
You can find and contact Mandy here:
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