For sixteen-year-old citizen Eve Thomas, life in New Eden has never been easy. Haunted by a freakish photographic memory and strange tics, she’s always on guard. But when her little brother contracts a disease New Eden's leaders won’t treat because technology is sacrilege, she’ll have to conquer her insecurities fast—and that means joining forces with someone willing to break the law.
Nineteen-year-old Mana Aquino lives to destroy the bishop who murdered sister and treats all outsiders like slaves. But as a laborer from the toxic Ghostlands, he’s having trouble getting close to his prey. When Mana learns about Eve’s memory, he makes her a bold offer: he’ll bring illegal medicine to her brother, if she’ll serve as his human camera, gathering sensitive information that could topple the bishop.
Though contact between citizens and outsiders is punishable by death, Eve finds herself drawn to the fiery boy with the dark sun eyes. She’s determined to show him that she’s no pampered child he can use and throw away. But being determined isn't going to solve Eve's problems. If she accepts Mana's offer, she’ll put her entire family at risk. If she says no, her brother is as good as dead.
Told by Eve and Mana, The New Eden Chronicles is a futuristic thriller with cross-cultural romance at its heart. A stand-alone novel with series potential, it is complete at 100,000 words.
First 500 Words:
Theresa’s a kicker. Mama and I struggle to keep her in the kitchen chair so the medics can find a vein and fill a vial with her blood. I feel like a monster, wrestling down a seven-year-old while her hot-poker screams skewer the space between my ears. But once the needle’s in, the thrashing subsides and her hazel eyes glaze over. The thin red stream shooting up into the glass is beautiful. As we let her go, I tap the back of the chair four times so the results will be negative. Theresa scowls then stumbles to her feet and stalks off. In a few minutes, she’ll be bragging to everyone about her ordeal.
Nearly twelve, Sarah would rather die than act like a baby. She practically jumps into the chair, though her arm quivers. She closes her eyes and turns away, her lips mashed together as the needle finds its mark. When the medic caps the full vial, she beams in that self-satisfied way she’s adopted. Four-year-old Rachel doesn’t understand enough to be afraid. We promise sweet treats and a new dress for her ragdoll if she’ll behave and it works like a charm. In his cradle nearby, David sleeps through the commotion, too young to be tested. Because I’m sixteen, I’m past the danger zone. There’s no big sharp needle for me, to my siblings’ disappointment.
Josh’s blood is the last to be collected. His calm amazes me. Instead of looking away or crying, like most ten-year-olds would, he watches the medics with curiosity, asking question after question about how the blood is labeled, stored, and analyzed. The two women administering the test smile and oblige him as much as possible but won’t reveal many details. They seem unnerved. I catch Josh’s eye and realize he hasn’t bought the story we’ve given the kids about why they’re being tested. He knows it’s not for some random scientific study. I tap four when Josh gets up and again when the medics leave our cabin.
Now it won’t be my fault if the unthinkable happens.
For two weeks after the blood draw, the same dream visits me every night. I know everything that’s about to happen, but can’t do anything to stop it. Josh and I run through the forest in the pitch dark, his small bare body ghostlike among the branches. He seems so sure about where he’s leading us that I don’t question him. Scudding clouds reveal the moon every few seconds while all around us ancient trees twist in the blackness.
“Slow down,” I call, when he gets too far ahead, the sound of my voice warping with the howling wind. I can barely make out his coppery hair as he starts up a hill a good 30 feet away. He’s impossibly fast despite how sick he seems. No matter what I do, I can’t close the gap between us.