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About the Book
Jema and Troy mange semi-normal lives at the Port Orford Naval Base despite global warming and mandatory genetic typing. With the threat of a second worldwide flu epidemic, their parents send them to a remote desert community. Jema’s sister contracts the virus, and Jema and Troy must decide whether to compromise the group to save one. Can Lovelock develop a cure in time to avoid mass casualty? As the political stage shifts, who can be trusted?
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Keep reading for an excerpt:
“I’m never going to get this.” I let the bow fall to my side.
“Mark.” Jema used my Lovelock name. “I’ve been doing this for ten years. You’re not going to be perfect in a couple of months. It’s muscle memory, just like with football. You’ll get it.”
We’d been practicing for almost three months, both shooting and adapting to our community names. I called her Cleo about sixty percent of the time and hit the center target only one in ten.
“But for you it’s like breathing, Cleo.” I forced out her new name, trying to make the switch in my psyche. She would always be Jema to me.
“Have you never had to work at anything?”
“Yeah, this.” I held up the bow and arrow.
She kicked at the sand under her feet. “Maybe I’m not a good teacher. I just remember how my dad taught me. Think about it like throwing a football. You aim and then release, right?” Cocking her arm back, she faked a throw.
I dropped the bow. “If you put your arms around me like this.” I took her hands and wound them around my waist, so our lips were inches apart. Even in the dim light, I could see her cheeks flush. I loved feeling the warmth from her face. One day I would get up the courage to kiss her again.
Backing away, I lifted the bow and drew the string and arrow to my ear. “Twenty more and then we’ll run.”
“Might help if you use your night goggles like the rest of us.” Her voice trailed off as she walked away.
Swish. I let the arrow fly and fitted another on the string until my quiver emptied. I jogged to collect the arrows and turned to scan the area for Jema. I grabbed a bag and headed to her. “Commander Butler will be happy.” I held the open sac out to her.
“It’s a big one. It will have to hold him till we’re back.”
“You’d think he’d get tired of these.” I synched the bag closed.
“He loves rabbit.”
We walked to the blacktop, and I set the bow on top of her catch. Bumping her shoulder, I faced into the wind. “You ready for this?”
“You beating me again? Never.”
“No, tomorrow.” I pumped my knees up and down in place a few times.
“Yep.” She started a slow jog beside me.
“Always nervous. I hate that it has to be a different place every time.”
“Yeah, and this is the farthest west we’ve been since our marrow run.” I shook my head, clearing the image of the dead soldiers from my brain.
“I do not like that the rendezvous is half an hour from the border.”
“Butler says they’re tightening security.”
Beside me, Jema’s shoulders trembled. “I feel like General Zhou is waiting for us at Port Orford.”
“Yeah, I can see him sitting at your kitchen table, wondering where you went.” I elbowed her, and she jumped to stay in stride.
“Fine. Whatever. Make fun of my nightmares.”
“At least you don’t dream about punching the commander every night.”