Paper Towns Golden Son (Red Rising Saga #2)

Jude started to protest, but Vida was already shutting the door.

Was Kerrie behind this? asked Derren, suspecting that she had decided to take matters into her own hands since her previous plan hadn’t worked.He doesn’t recognize her name, replied Trey. He says that the voice on the phone was distorted but sounded male. Even if Kerrie hadn’t made the call, she could be the mastermind behind it; she could have hired people to help her. We’ve no way of tracking his family before anything can happen to them.

Blood of Tyrants (Temeraire #8)

Stone sighed. I doubt they would have been allowed to live in any case—they’re witnesses who could identify their kidnappers.Derren was thinking the same thing.On one hand, I feel sorry for him, began Shaya, cuddling Willow close. On another, I want to rip him apart for putting so many lives in danger.

Six Earlier Days (Every Day #0.5)

Taryn’s voice came on the phone next. Hey, sweetie. I’m feeling the same. A part of me wants to force him to choke on his own testicles. But I know I’d do whatever I had to do to keep my family safe, no matter what it was. And it’s hard not to feel a little sorry for him; he’s so petrified of what will happen to his family that he’s shaking.Thank your Seer for us, said Trey. We owe her big-time. That bomb could have killed us all.

Derren blinked. Wow, that ‘thanks’ didn’t even sound begrudging. The Mercury wolves and Taryn chuckled.

Trey snorted. Don’t be an asshole all your life, Derren.I protect my fire the only way I know how.

There’s a place deep inside of me that no one can reach. I keep the things there I won’t let the Trainers take, locked up tight where no knife can cut them out, no lash can slice them, and no shock of electricity can void them. When I was a kid, a little one, it was a place where stories took shape—where Greenwood really existed. In class, I’d be listening to the drone of our teacher one minute and, the next, fighting giants with Sammy, running from wizards, defending our tree from monster rats. If Mrs. Brown called on me, forget it. I was gone. When I snapped out of it, either because someone kicked my chair, the other kids were laughing at me, or the bell went off, I still left the room smelling the damp dirt in the forest, feeling scratchy bark on my palms. My heart would still be slamming against my ribs.There’s that phrase: getting lost in your own thoughts. Well, I disappeared. Mom gave me the dumb, horrible nickname Turtle because of it. She’d catch me sitting at the kitchen table staring at my notebook, not moving, just playing some crazy idea through, watching a full-on film of imagination play behind my eyes, and have to physically shake me back into reality. Same with reading. I lost so many hours to books with the world blanked out around me. Maybe different parents would have tried to break the habit, but mine let me slide into my shell when I needed to. I was the one that stopped letting myself go. When things got...when they got bad, I had to grow up. Stop dreaming.

Hot Holiday Nights (Play by Play #10.5)

But damn if the first time the Trainers had me down, hands tied, feet tied, I was scared so shitless I just instinctively went to that headspace. It was like jumping into the deep end of the pool, letting myself sink to the bottom as they hammered away the surface of the water. I was deaf to their voices, even as they screamed in my ear. I felt the echo of the pain they gave me later, when my skin stained itself with bruises and I tried to knit the open pieces back together. They pulverized us early on, turned us to raw meat. Easier to shape that way. It was a cycle. Show fear, get pain. Show anger, get pain. Show humor, pain. Happy, pain. Sadness, pain. Want, pain. In the spaces between eating and pain, they drugged us. Sweet, black nothing.That’s what’s left in the others. Nothing. Their armor wasn’t as strong as mine. They couldn’t get lost in a maze of memory the way I could. I write myself different pasts. I write myself different futures. The scenes feel real enough that I let myself stay locked inside my head for hours as the Trainers drill me with threats, rake poison words down my back.

Whenever they eased off, gave me food, water, medicine for the hurt, I didn’t think thank you, thank you, thank you, I will listen to you now I will never let you down again I need you thank you thank you the way I heard the other kids sobbing until they were silenced with more pain. I didn’t even notice. I was safe inside memories of Mom and Dad dancing as they cooked dinner together, forcing us to sing with them. Mia making me watch her perform a play she’d written about unicorns and fairies. Sammy. Sammy in the sunlight, laughing. Sammy racing me to the top of the tree, then again to let me win once. Sammy insisting I press my lips against hers just once as we sat up in our tree. Ten and eleven, three days before the move, my heart beating so hard, so fast I thought she could hear it, too. She wanted to know what was so great about kissing, and I couldn’t ever say no to her when she turned those determined dark eyes on me.Seven years I’ve been coaching myself for a moment exactly like this. I knew that I would find Mia in a place like this, and I’d need to be able to keep a lid on my anger until I figured out how to get us out. Laying on my cot at our facility, I imagined her shivering, pale, starving. I imagined them hitting her for one of her signature comebacks. I practiced the mask of apathy that came to the others so easily, killed my heart just enough to play the game.

It was pointless. I should have known my weak-ass heart better than that. Right now, I feel like I’m about to detonate. The heat under my skin is hot enough to melt my bones. My left arm gives a sharp jerk, and the humiliation of losing control over my body’s horrible tic only makes the burn worse. I can’t make it seem like I’m helping her, I can’t lose this chance to find Mia and be sent back to the facility. But he can’t do this to Sammy.He called for assistance, I think, mind scrambling to put together the logic. I hear the camp controllers’ voices chirping in my ear, asking for a status. And even though I can hear one of the PSFs, a woman, reply, no one up in the rafters is moving to give the man any sort of assistance. The command hangs in the air, waiting for someone to accept it. The Trainers told us our primary purpose here was to keep the other kids from acting out. Save fire, we were allowed to use force when necessary to meet that goal.

My body lurches forward. I jump over the tables between us, sending the girls working there flying back like a startled flock of pigeons. By the time I reach her, the PSF has the baton in the air, swinging down toward her, and the others are finally moving, taking aim. I slam into her from behind, too hard to really brace herself from the impact of hitting the ground, but I try to maneuver one of my arms beneath her. The PSF’s baton catches the side of my skull and pain explodes behind my eyes.Sam’s body goes limp with shock and then, even after everything, she starts to fight again. It’s the last gasp of energy from an animal that knows it’s pointless, but still won’t surrender. Not easily, not willingly. I admire the hell out of her for it.

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