In a world where class distinction means the difference between imprisonment and freedom and even life and death, being chosen to stay in the encampment and breed is the only way to guarantee survival for a teenage Producer.
Every year after harvest, the finest examples of teenage Producers are assigned mates; the rest are loaded onto carts and hauled away, never to be seen or heard from again. Trinity, a sixteen-year-old Producer, knows that she has no chance of being chosen to stay. She isn’t even full-blooded Producer. Her father is a House Servant and she’s spent her entire life hiding her differences, especially her claws and fangs.
She has one week to sneak into the forest and discover what happens to those who are taken. Her plan is simple, but she doesn’t count on being hunted and captured by predators long believed to be extinct. Can she elude her captors to uncover the fate of her kind and return to camp before her escape is discovered?
She ran blindly away from the sound of the Guards, her backpack slamming against her spine with each stride. If they catch my scent, they will find me. She skidded to a stop. The forest had ended. A rock wall loomed in front of her, stretching to both sides as far as she could see. Little crevices and divots peppered the wall, but it was too steep to climb. She had to make a choice. The wrong one would cost her freedom, maybe her life.
The trees rustled behind her. Too late. They found me. This had all been for nothing. Now, the best she could hope for was to be taken with the others. Her chest tightened. She had to make sure that her mom and Remy weren’t punished because she escaped. She raised her hands to her shoulders and slowly turned. Her breath caught in her throat. A Tracker, the deadliest of predators, stood on its back two legs, towering above her, front legs hanging down like arms. Brindle fur covered its body and its eyes glowed yellow in the shadowed forest. Its tongue lolled out the side of its mouth, exposing a row of sharp teeth on the other side. Someone should tell it that they no longer exist in the wild.
Interviewer: “Tell me a little about yourself.”
Hugh: “I am the youngest Almighty to ever be bestowed with the title of High. I run my own company. It’s quite successful. I like to stay fit and active. That about sums it up.”
Interviewer: “What was your childhood like?”
Hugh: “Pleasant enough, I suppose.”
Interviewer: “I suppose? You should know.”
Hugh: “It wasn’t perfect.”
Interviewer: “In what way?”
Hugh: “It looked perfect on the outside, but it wasn’t. My father wanted everything to appear perfect. He was an expert at hiding the cracks from others.”
Interviewer: “What kind of cracks?”
Hugh: “My parents’ marriage….well, it wasn’t…perfect.”
Interviewer: “Are any?”
Hugh: [runs hand through his hair] “No…but theirs was…my parents didn’t get along…at all.”
Interviewer: “Why do you suppose that was?”
Hugh: “Because my father was a colossal ass.”
Interviewer: “And you mother was perfect?”
Hugh: “No. Araldo, no, she is far from perfect. She can be a pain too, but…well, she loved me, us.”
Interviewer: “And you father didn’t?”
Hugh: “If he did, he had a funny way of showing it.”
Interviewer: “What did he do?”
Hugh: “He didn’t spare the rod so to speak.”
Interviewer: “Did he hit your sister too?”
Hugh: “Not as much as me. She was better behaved. Let’s get to the next question.”
Interviewer: “Do you think you’ve turned out the way your parents expected?”
Hugh: “Let me see that paper. Is that really the next question?”
Interviewer: “It is.” [shows the paper].
Hugh: “Well, damn. Okay, then. No. I did not turn out how either of them expected. I was a huge disappointment to my father. No surprise there. I did nothing but disappoint him from the day that I was born [runs hand through his hair]. I tried, Araldo knows that I did, but nothing I did was ever good enough. So, I quit trying.”
Interviewer: “And your mother?”
Hugh: “She’s proud of me.”
Hugh: “She has these…beliefs that I don’t prescribe to. She’s a bit miffed about that.”
Interviewer: “What beliefs?”
Hugh: “She thinks that all the classes should be equal. That we are all similar.” [laughs]
Interviewer: “You don’t?”
Hugh: “Absolutely not. Besides for the scientific proof, we are smarter than the other classes. It is our duty to rule them. Don’t get me wrong. We should treat them well and fair. Many don’t and that should be changed.”
Interviewer: “Are you going to change that?”
Hugh: “Yes. I mean, when I get time. I have a new device that I’m working on. My business has to come first.”
Interviewer: “Of course. What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?”
Hugh: “Women tend to like me. [smiles]. Men are usually intimidated by me. I am smarter than most of them and they don’t like that.”
Interviewer: “How about after they’ve known you for a while?”
Hugh: “The women, well, they usually take the hint that I’m not interested. I have a girlfriend.”
Interviewer: “That wouldn’t’ stop many in your position.”
Hugh: “I’m a one woman kind of man. If you can’t have trust in a relationship then why have one.”
Interviewer: “What do men think of you after they’ve known you for a while?”
Hugh: “Most respect me. I’m hard working and fair.”
Interviewer: “What are you most proud of about your life?”
Hugh: “The new tracking device. I created it myself from concept to product and it works amazing.”
Interviewer: “What does it to?”
Hugh: “It stores the data of where a creature has been for every minute of every day. It uploads it using solar power. Now, we not only know where our Guards and House Servants are at a moment in time, we know where they’ve been.”
Interviewer: “ That could come in handy.”
Hugh: “I expect sales to skyrocket.”
Interviewer: “What are you most ashamed of in your life?”
Hugh: “Hmm. I guess not finding time to work with my mom on her many charities. I should make the time. I will make the time.”
Interviewer: “What are you most afraid of?”
Hugh: “Nothing really. I mean, I suppose sickness and death would have to top my list.”
Interviewer: “That is a pretty common answer.”
Hugh: “I sure it is.”
Interviewer: “Hmmm. Describe your ideal mate?”
Hugh: “I have to find her attractive. I know looks aren’t everything, but I have to be attracted to her, or what’s the point, right?”
Interviewer: “Attraction is important.”
Hugh: “Absolutely. She also has to be smart. It would help if she were a scientist. It would give us more to talk about. And I have to trust her.”
Interviewer: “Do you have anyone in mind for this role?”
Hugh: “My girlfriend, Viola, fits all those requirements. We just moved in together, actually.”
Hugh: “We aren’t talking marriage or anything. Not yet. But living together is a big step.”
Interviewer: “Yes, it is. What do you believe about Araldo (God)?”
Hugh: “I believe in Araldo. I was raised believing in him, but honestly, I haven’t given him much thought lately.”
Interviewer: “What do you suppose Araldo thinks of you?”
Hugh: “I imagine he isn’t too disappointed in me. Like I said, I work hard and am fair. I am loyal and I treat the other classes with respect. He is probably a little disappointed that I don’t worship him on a regular basis. I should, I know, but time…”
Interviewer: “How do you feel about your life right now and would you change anything?”
Hugh: “My life is great. Viola is great. My device is going to make me a richer man than I already am. The only thing that I’d change is my mother. She’s sick. Dying. There’s nothing the doctors can do. I’d make her better. I’d give her anything if I could.”
Interviewer: “I’m sorry to hear about your mother. I have heard nothing but good things about her.”
Hugh: “Yeah. Everyone loves her.”
The first book of the series is on sale for $0.99 until the end of the tour.
About the Author
S. O’Dea grew up the youngest of seven. She always wanted to do what her older siblings were doing, especially reading stories.
Ill at a young age, she immersed herself in books. Her life changed when she read a short story written by her older brother and realized that normal (somewhat anyway, since her brother was a bit weird in her opinion) people created these amazing stories. From that day forward, she wanted to write.
However, as with all good stories, obstacles rose in her path (mostly self-created obstacles) and it took her many years to put finger to keyboard and type her first book.