Title: Rupture (Transhuman Warrior #1)
Author: Curtis Hox
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Fantasy
Summary: Simone Wellborn is a Transhuman with an attitude. She’s been genetically engineered from birth to be super smart. The problem? All that tinkering her parents paid top dollar for provided a few unexpected results, like an annoying ability to blast telekinetic energy at the worst possible times. She also has another tricky issue: strange entities possess her and, worse, transform her into something dangerous.
Simone’s mother sends her to the Sterling School for reject Transhumans. While there, she meets a few other students with similar problems. They’re all Transhumans with dirty secrets. Heartthrob Hutto Toth is a charming gladiator. He annoys Simone from day one, but he’s also a Werebear who accidentally killed a boy in a glad match, and Simone can’t stand how much she likes him. There’s two-foot tall Wally Dorsey, who’s determined to pilot a personalized mech. His best friend, Beasley Gardner, is a mountain of a young girl with enough muscle to beat up any boy at school, but she’s suffers from a rage disorder. Finally, Simone meets Kimberlee Newkirk, an unassuming Succubus who fears she’ll kill the next boy she kisses.
These defective students find themselves at the center of a deadly conflict when another student, Joss Beckwith, attracts a Rogue Artificial Intelligence, the new power brokers in a society radically changed by science and technology.
The Transhuman Warrior Series tells the story of Simone and her friends as they’re transformed into highly specialized human weapons. They must challenge the increasing power of the Rogues as these enemies push into Realspace with one goal in mind: total domination.
How awesome does this book sound?! And if you need even more convincing, I have an excerpt for you!
“Sterling is for rejects. Tranz rejects.”
The words exploded out of Cooter Dawkins’ mouth before his girlfriend, Simone Wellborn, could stop him.
The two of them sat across from each other in a booth at Mo’s Coffee Shop, Cooter gripping a can of Dr. Pepper, Simone a mochachino topped with a mountain of whip cream.
Simone was an attractive girl with jet-black hair that stood out in two flaring pigtails. She wore baggy clothes that hid a lean but athletic body. She wasn’t much more than a hundred and ten pounds, soaking wet, and Cooter was over six-feet tall, and his shoulders were so wide she had to lean to the side to see who walked in.
“Oh, great,” Simone said.
“What?” Cooter swiveled in his seat as if his life depended on it. He spilled his soda all over the sleeve of his navy-blue Ellington Preparatory letterman jacket but kept his eyes glued on the oddball walking to the counter. “Tranz.”
The little Transhuman was only two feet tall. He wasn’t an infant, or even a dwarf. He was proportioned well enough to look like a shrunken teenager who might do some ollies on a shrunken skateboard. He even wore shrunken clothes.
“Look at that,” Cooter said. “He’s wearing a sweet pair of Bermudas, probably special ordered from Freaks-R-Us.”
“Shh,” Simone replied and pulled on his sleeve. “Don’t let him hear you. I know who he is.”
Cooter faced her. “So? What’s he going to do? Ever since the Sterling freaks started coming to town, everyone has to walk on eggshells. Fuck that. Just because you’re transferring there doesn’t mean I have to like it.”
The coffee shop wasn’t a big store, but like most of the businesses in Cranton, Georgia, it was located on Jefferson Davis Road, where the stores lined up one after the other along the only strip in town. Simone liked Mo’s because of the mismatched couches, the free WiFi, and the posters of pop stars all over the place. She wondered if the little Sterling student had taken a cab because he was too short to drive, and the Sterling School was several miles out of the town limits in the countryside.
“I wonder how he got here,” Simone said.
“Maybe he walked,” Cooter replied, then burst out laughing.
The defective Transhuman looked their way. He carried a huge can of soda in his hands, way too big for him, and it was enough to make Cooter laugh again.
“Don’t get your titties in a twister, Simone. Deformed Tranz like him should stay locked away in their school for the fucked-up-and-useless.”
Simone sat up straight and considered getting nasty with her jerk of a boyfriend because that two-foot tall Tranz also had a premium intellect package—at least that was what she’d heard.
Cooter continued. “Otherwise, they’ll be coming to town all the time. Soon, they’ll be cruising up the street, hanging out at the movie theater and game store, and probably applying for summer jobs.”
And Cooter couldn’t have that, she knew. Cranton was a regulated township for the privileged and wealthy, like Cooter’s family, and hers. “He didn’t do anything. Leave him alone, Cooter. I’m warning you—”
“Hell if I care what you do. You’ve been a pain ever since you got kicked out of Ellington. He’s one of the Sterling freaks. And don’t say a thing, not after Dustin got killed.”
“It wasn’t this kid who did it—”
As the little Sterling student neared their table, he almost dropped his soda. It was slick with condensation; he used his entire shirt to wipe it down. “Just want a straw. Can you get it for me?”
His voice was faint and tinny and caused Cooter to sit rigid. He glanced at the sugar counter. “Get it yourself, freak.”
Simone stood and admitted to herself it had been a mistake to spite her mother by dating Ellington Prep’s star quarterback. She smoothed out the oversized clothes she always wore and considered telling him off but said nothing to her boneheaded (and soon to be) ex-boyfriend. She glided to the counter, grabbed a straw, bent over, and handed it to the little guy.
“Hey, I’m Simone. He’s an idiot.”
Cooter snorted. “Lucky you she’s so nice. I could strangle you with that straw.” Again, laughter. And then to Simone: “I’m an idiot?”
Simone and the stranger from outside of town both saw that Cooter was only half kidding. He may have been the best-looking guy around and so socially acceptable and perfect it made Simone’s mother insane with annoyance, and, worse, he’d been engineered by his rich parents to be what he was: Mr. Perfect, but Simone had always known he had a mean streak. He was everything wrong with their new society: Unforgiving. And that made them worlds apart. And, damn it, she hated it when her mother was right.
Wally backed away, eyes locked on Cooter.
“How’d you get here?” Cooter asked.
Wally took another step, almost stumbled.
Cooter slid out of the booth. Simone moved to hold him back, but he pushed her aside and she stumbled backward.
Another local, a young natural girl, saw it from behind the counter, but did nothing. She obviously knew who Cooter was and didn’t want to piss him off. She stood with her hands at her sides, and watched.
“Yo, turd man,” Cooter said, “how did you get to town on those little stick legs?”
Wally remained calm but kept backing up, his eyes on the massive young man in front of him. They were so disparate in size that Cooter could toss him across the room.
When the door opened and a figure appeared, Cooter was only one step away from maybe giving Wally a goal-winning kick. The new man was Cooter’s equal in size. But he was dressed in a black woolen robe that hid his hands and feet and made him look like some mendicant friar in need of a bath. His long hair hung in strands from his head, nearly covering his face. His skin was sallow, as if he’d never been in the sun a day in his life.
The coffee girl bumped into the espresso machine behind her and spilled a jug of milk.
Cooter paused in mid-step as if someone had used a remote to freeze him. He put his foot back where it had been, not where he’d intended it to go.
The stranger scanned the room. “Wally, get in the car.” His voice was soft and broken, and very weak, as if he’d been screaming all night from the bottom of a well.
Wally seemed saddened by what was happening, paused, then turned and walked out.
“Miss Wellborn,” the man said, “I’m Coach Buzzal Vaughn. We’ll be seeing you later today at Sterling?”
She nodded. “Yes, sir.”