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Gods of Blood and Bone (Seeds of Chaos Volume 1)[EBOOK]

Gods of Blood and Bone (Seeds of Chaos Volume 1)[EBOOK]

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Leveling up would be fun...

If it weren't so deadly.


Eve is a survivor. Kidnapped and genetically enhanced, she wakes in an alley with the ability to level up. As a Player, her life now belongs to the Game.

Deadly Trials offer fantastic and powerful prizes, but as she fights against both alien monsters and other Players, Eve knows she would do anything to escape the Game.

She may have to risk more than just her life to gain the power to control her own destiny...

Get it now.
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Read a Sample

You may know of me, but you have no idea who I am.

— Eve Redding

The electrical immobilizers clamped on my wrists and ankles caused the skin around them to burn with a strange tingling sensation. It felt like touching my tongue to the tip of a nine-volt battery. 

I tried to arch my back and kick out, and the sensation spread violently, causing my muscles to go rigid-limp against my will. I whimpered into the rubber-tasting patch covering my mouth and tried to imbue some rage into the glare I leveled at my captors. The masked woman chuckled at me. The other one, a man, placed a large metal case on the ground and unlocked it with the hissing sound of hydraulics. 

“Please, you said I’d get a Seed. Can I have it now?” the boy said, desperation lacing his voice. 

I turned my glare on their sniveling accomplice. How could I have been so stupid? I should have ignored his fake distress, like everyone else. I’d almost done so, but then he met my eyes, his own pitiful and full of fear. He’d mouthed, “help” at me. So I’d followed him into the alley. 

And now here I was—bound and gagged by two masked people—being kidnapped. A large transport vehicle had already pulled up to hide the mouth of the alley, and thus my current predicament, from the people on the street. Not that they would have helped, anyway. Strangers would take one look at a girl being abducted by masked, vaguely military-looking people, and scurry onward, their eyes firmly pointed to the grey pavement. Got to get to work. Lucky to be among the steadily decreasing percentage with a job. No time to deal with other people’s problems. 

The boy looked away from me and snatched eagerly at something in the silent man’s outstretched hand. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled to me. “I wish I was stronger.” Then he shuddered and unclenched his fist from around a little glass ball, which dropped to the ground. 

“What do you think you’re doing? Pick that up!” the woman hissed. “You can’t leave stuff like that just lying around. There can’t be any evidence we were here. None.”

The boy swallowed hard and snatched it back up, then met my eyes again. “I had to. I didn’t have a choice. You don’t know what it’s like.” His voice dropped to a whisper, and his chin quivered a bit. “But you will.” 

“Shut up,” the man said, speaking for the first time as he drew something from his metal case and stepped ominously over to me.

I tried once more to move my useless body, but my muscles had locked themselves into a painful half-relaxation. I tried to scream instead, but even though the force of it burned my throat, it came out of my nose weak and muffled. 

The man bent over me and jammed a pen-sized piece of metal into my leg. It pierced the skin, and he held it there for a second before withdrawing it and handing it to the woman. She immediately plugged the other end into the side of a clunky link pad. 

My breath heaved out of my lungs, and my eyes opened painfully wide, but every attempt at movement only forced me to lie more and more still. 

An image popped up on the link pad screen: a picture of my face, under my name, Eve Redding, and a slew of other data. 

What the hell? 

It was me in a white hospital gown—the picture I’d had taken a few months before, when people had come to do a surprise, school-wide medical examination. We’d been told it was to ensure none of the students had communicable diseases. Why did they have that picture?

I swallowed. In a situation like this, there could be no good reason. 

“It’s her,” the woman said. “Hurry. We don’t have much time. We’ll have to leave her here.” 

That didn’t sound good, either. But if they were leaving me, at least I wasn’t being kidnapped for human trafficking or something. I’d have made a bad slave to some rich foreigner, anyway; I was too rebellious, and not pretty enough to make up for it. 

The man nodded and grabbed me by my arm, which was bound behind my back. He lifted my weight roughly, turned me onto my stomach, and brushed the hair off the nape of my neck. I felt a pressure at the base of my skull, and then a sharp pain. 

I tried to jerk away, but I couldn’t even move an inch. Frustration, terror, and rage boiled up in me, pushing out any forced humor, and a tear slipped down my nose onto the painfully rough concrete pressed against my cheek. 

Tears—the only outlet my body had. I hated crying.

Another pain, at the base of my neck. 

Another tear of rage. 

He flipped me back over and the woman came forward, another glass ball in her hand, but this one was filled with creamy liquid. She knelt in front of me and pressed it to my neck. “I hope this one survives.” 

Wait, what?

There was one last quick, sharp pain. 

She stripped off my electrical immobilizers and tapped the back of her wrist port against the patch on my mouth, causing it to disintegrate. 

I drew breath to scream and tried to jerk away from her, but my muscles still wouldn’t listen. The alley walls and the woman’s back as she stepped into the transport vehicle all spun crazily. My eyes rolled back into my head, and I passed out. 

* * *

Consciousness came lurching back to me with a wave of sickness. I rolled to my hands and knees and heaved up bitter-apple bile onto the concrete. My dark brown hair hung unrestrained around my face, and my hands got splashed with sick, but I barely noticed. 

“Oh, God,” I moaned, heaving once again. I retched until nothing came out, then crawled to the alley wall and used it to pull myself up. My body shuddered uncontrollably. I looked up through the smoggy air to the sky above. The sun wasn’t overhead yet, but even in the shade of the towering buildings, the early summer heat made me feel like I was baking inside the city-stench all around me. 

But I didn’t have time to stand there contemplating my own misery. 

I needed to move right then, or I wouldn’t be able to. 

I stumbled out onto the sidewalk, causing a businesswoman to rear back and sidestep to avoid colliding with me. She curled her lip in disgust and clacked away in her towering heels. Scag. 

I stumbled on my way, using the walls to support myself when my legs alone couldn’t. The other people on the sidewalk veered out of my way, avoiding eye-contact except to throw me the kind of derisive glance usually reserved for homeless people and half-crazed addicts. 

My brain was tingling. 

What the hell had they done to me? Everything spun crazily, and every time I blinked, random images and sounds flashed in my head. White walls, a frowning man in a lab coat, monitors blinking and beeping, shouting in a foreign language, a chest straining against restraints, a bright light…blindingly bright. 

I opened my eyes and found myself leaning against the side of a building, hot window glass against my back, my head tilted toward the light of the rising sun. I jerked and closed my lids against the white-hot heat radiating out from the distant orb. When I opened my eyes again, I saw a man looking suspiciously my way. 

Fear gave me temporary mental clarity and the boost of adrenaline needed to straighten up. “Stupid,” I hissed to myself. “What the heck are you doing, on the street in broad daylight?” I took a deep breath of the dirty air and propelled myself forward, off the sidewalk and into the street. I raised my hand for a taxi pod while anxiously watching the people around me out of the corner of my eye. 

My attackers had left, but what if they were coming back? What if there were others? I stood out, obvious in the stupid uniform all high school students were forced to wear. I was spaced out on the streets, looking delirious, smelling of vomit, and in serious danger. I thought of filing a report with the enforcers—the military troops that policed us civilians after the attempted air strikes seven years ago—but everyone knew they were useless when it came to actually helping the civilians, unless you had money. I didn’t have money, but whoever my attackers were, they obviously did. The enforcers weren’t an option. 

A taxi stopped in front of me. I opened the door and threw myself inside, blurting out my address to the computer-operated vehicle. It pulled leisurely away from the sidewalk and hurled itself full-speed into the flow of traffic. My stomach lurched, and I heaved onto the plastine seat. The computerized voice said something about financial responsibility, but I wasn’t paying attention. 

My body started to vibrate, and when I looked down, I saw my pieces coming apart. Then I blinked, and I was normal again. “Must be hallucinating,” I mumbled. When I finally looked up from the fascinating myriad lines and crags in the skin of my palms, the taxi pod was stopped outside my building. 

The automated voice was loud, and I don’t think I was imagining the irritation as it asked me once again, “Valued customer, we have arrived at the specified destination. The charge is three hundred twelve credits. Please swipe your identity link over the payment center and exit the vehicle promptly.” I looked out the pod window to my building. Thanks to my single mother’s workaholic nature, we lived in an area just far enough from the unemployment slums that it was safe to walk to school. Or should have been. 

I swiped the sheath around my left forearm over the scanner in the center of the pod and climbed out. I couldn’t feel my legs, and had to look down to ensure they were still attached to my torso, but somehow I made it inside, through the doors, into the elevator, and then into our house. 

The dark interior was comfortably familiar. Safe. 

“I hope this one survives,” rang through my head again, shattering this momentary illusion of safety. 

“Please,” I whispered to the air. What was wrong with me? I was sick. Much too sick. 

Even this simple thought was impossible to hold onto as sweat began to pour from my skin, my body growing dangerously hot. I braced one hand against the wall and waited for this to pass, but when it did, a wave of bone-creaking cold crept through me instead. My brain seemed to be tingling again, along with my spine, and when I took a step toward my room, my vision went dark and blurry. Then the cold floor smashed hard into the side of my head.

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