Here is an excerpt from my new YA Dystopian book, The Grower’s Gift (Progeny of Time #1). Enjoy!
Sunrise colored the sky a bright orange, blending with the surface of the biological shield that protected the city of Neo York from the harsh, unpredictable weather elsewhere in the world. Ty entered the enclosure where his pet tiger Isis lived, a world of sand dunes and random shrubbery, and called her. She bounded towards him and let him attach the collar around her neck, probably already sensing she’d soon be roaming the open wastelands beyond the shield.
Ty’s phone buzzed as he was adjusting the wireless connection to Isis’ collar. His father’s wide face dominated one of the tiles of the phone, shaped like a bracelet today, the man’s cheeks red and puffed out.
“What do you mean you’re going hunting today?” Caesar Remarque shouted as soon as Ty answered the phone.
“It’s just for one night, Dad,” Ty protested. “Why is it a problem?”
“The most important conference of this decade is about to take place in three days,” his father barked. “If you want to succeed me in running this city one day you better start acting more maturely.”
“Are you insisting I stay, Dad?” Ty asked. “Because I’m eighteen, and you can’t order me around like that anymore.”
“I can do far worse than order you around,” his father warned.
The door to his apartment hissed open. Ty turned to see his mother beaming at him, the floor length light blue silk dress she wore billowing when she walked into the room. Her pitch black hair fell in a straight glossy sheet down to her hips. The color of her dress matched her eyes. And Ty’s. The tiger growled softly when his mother approached and took the phone from Ty’s hand.
“Come now, Caesar, don’t be so strict,” she said to his father. “Of course he has time to have some fun before the boring legal talks begin. If I can spare him from the facility for a few days, surely you can too.”
She winked at Ty conspiratorially, her eyes alive with kindness. Ty smiled at her, hoping nothing on his face betrayed how fake the sentiment behind it was.
“You’ll spoil him right out of his place as my heir one of these days, Violetta,” his father said, and hung up.
His mother handed the phone back to Ty. “Don’t worry, I’ll smooth this over for you with your father. Go and have fun.”
Ty turned and headed for the door.
His sister Eve came running down the hallway as he exited his apartment, and dropped to her knees beside Isis. “I heard you were leaving, Ty. And without so much as a goodbye.”
Isis lay on her back and purred while Eve stroked her thick fur.
“I’ll be gone for two days. Why is everyone so worried about it?” Ty asked exasperatedly.
Eve stood up. “Don’t be so harsh, Ty.”
Isis hissed and backed away when his mother attempted to pet her too.
“She doesn’t like you, Mom,” Eve said, making Ty cringe.
How many times do I have to tell Eve to be nice to Mom?
His mother cleared her throat and straightened up. “It is a little childish for you to be leaving the Ring now, Ty. Then again, once the talks start you might not be able to for a while.”
Ty almost asked her what she was planning, then decided he didn’t really want to know.
She stood on tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek. “Have fun. And bring me back a gifted one to study, if you find one.”
Ty’s stomach felt as though he’d swallowed a fistful of ice. His eyes flashed to Eve before he had the sense to stop them.
All he could do was nod to his mother’s request. She walked away down the hallway chuckling.
The moment she disappeared, Ty knelt on the floor beside his sister so that their eyes were level. “Whatever you do, don’t ever let her know you have a special gift.”
Eve brushed a strand of his hair away from his eyes. “How many times do you think you have to tell me that? I understood it the last hundred times.”
“You’re eleven. You forget things. Promise me,” Ty insisted.
Eve’s soft brown eyes were every bit as kind as their mother’s, but in her case they didn’t tell a lie.
“I do not forget things,” she sighed. “But fine. For the 101st time, I promise.”
“What took you so long?” Lana snapped at Ty when he finally entered the hovercraft, then glared at Isis. “And why did you have to bring your pet with you?”
If Ty had ever expected any sort of loving compassion from Lana, he gave up the dream long ago. Still, she worked out great as a girlfriend. Ruthless enough to please both his mother and father, and self-absorbed enough to think love equaled gifts, power and money. Her ruthlessness and lack of compassion didn’t make her much of a companion, but at least she wasn’t very needy. Besides, she was every bit as hot as her fiery hair and slanted green eyes promised.
Ty pulled her closer and kissed her to stop any more questions.
“What, you can’t wait ten minutes for me?” he asked once he broke the kiss.
Lana’s brother Rober cleared his throat behind them. “Can we leave now? If you two are quite done, that is?”
Ty turned to stand between them. As usual, it wasn’t enough to prevent Lana from lashing out. “I will thank you not to parade your jealousy so proudly, Rober. Ty is my boyfriend, he doesn’t want to be yours.”
She laughed harshly at her own joke.
Ty shrugged his shoulders at his friend. Rober should’ve stayed quiet. “Is everyone else here?” he asked.
Rober nodded and started walking to the cockpit. “Yes, obviously.”
Ty followed him. “Don’t taunt her if you don’t want her to be mean to you,” Ty said as soon as the doors slid shut behind them.
“I can handle my sister,” Rober said. “What I don’t understand is what you see in her.”
Ty shrugged. “She’s hot, and fierce.”
“So it’s not that you see in her a lifelong companion to cherish and support you, and stand by you in good and bad?”
Ty laughed aloud. “No. All that’s just a fairytale. No one ever finds someone like that! And I’m not even looking.”
Rober called up the map of the Badlands. “Where do you want to go?”
Ty peered at the map for a few seconds, then pointed at a spot about two hundred miles away. Nothing but wilderness flanked the five small towns in the area. “That should be fine.”
“So far? You realize we have to be back by tomorrow night at the latest.”
“Don’t tell me you’re eager to participate in the Nova 18 talks?” Ty asked as he read off the coordinates of the spot he’d chosen. He sat behind the control screen and punched in the numbers. “It will just be more of the same tedious back and forth. Nothing ever gets settled in those talks.”
“Of course I care what happens with Nova 18. I think abandoning Earth to settle and eventually destroy another planet is the stupidest idea in the history of humanity!”
Ty regretted asking. Rober was breathing hard beside him, his green eyes bulging, already all riled up about his favorite topic: saving the world. He never shut up about it for more than five minutes since he learned what went on in the world beyond the shield surrounding the city. And that was over ten years ago.
Ty took over the control of the hovercraft and eased it out of the hanger. As soon as they cleared the building, he guided it straight down to the lowest highway and sped up.
“Slow down to the appropriate speed limit!” a mechanical voice chimed from the speakers.
Ty ignored it and sped up even more. There was hardly any traffic on the lowest highway anyway, and he wanted to leave the Ring as quickly as possible.
“No need to kill us all with your flying, Ty,” Rober said. “I get it, you don’t like talking about politics.”
“Politics is fine by me. It’s these revolutionary ideas of yours I have a problem with,” Ty replied, slowing the craft down when they reached the shield.
The word PASSCODE flashed across the control screen. Ty unzipped his left sleeve and pressed his tiger tattoo, the mark of House Remarque, against the glass. Heat spread through the inked lines as the machine read the code that would open the gate. A few seconds later the craft squeezed through the shield and into the Badlands. Ty let the autopilot take over and leaned back.
Rober glared, his nostrils flaring. “Wanting to help the displaced in the Badlands survive doesn’t make me a criminal, Ty.”
“I’m not saying you’re a criminal. My parents and the rest of the panel, on the other hand, might take that view.” Ty chuckled at his own joke.
“Well, they’re wrong,” Rober said with a straight face. “And it’s time someone did something to change their minds.”
“I’m fine with it as long as by ‘someone’, you don’t mean me,” Ty said, fighting down another chuckle.
Rober kicked Ty’s chair, making it wobble. “Of course I mean you. You have the most to lose if things don’t change.”
Cold seared through Ty’s forehead. He grit his teeth to stifle it before it grew. “Don’t talk about that, I’m warning you.”
The door hissed open before Rober had a chance to reply.
“Are you two quite done bonding in here?” Lana asked. “Where are we going anyway?”
She shrieked when she saw the flashing point of their destination. “It will take us the whole day to get there. Whose idea was it?”
Rober shrugged and pointed at Ty.
“Change it!” Lana insisted. “I don’t want to go that deep into the Badlands. Who knows what kind of horrors breed there?”
Ty rose from his seat and approached her. “Don’t tell me you’re scared. I thought you were the best hunter among us.”
Lana blushed, the color clashing with her hair. “I am. That still doesn’t mean I have to prove it so far from home.”
Ty placed his arm around her shoulders and led her from the room. “I’m too lazy to change it now. And we do have the whole day to ourselves now. That’s a good thing, right?”
“I guess,” she said and melted into him.
Did you enjoy this sample?
The Grower’s Gift (Progeny of Time #1) is available now!
Also available from Amazon UK.