Excerpt: Immunity - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

Survivors of a deadly planetary outbreak take on a new, sinister adversary in the white-knuckle sequel to Contagion, which New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman called “gripping, thrilling, and terrifying in equal measures.”

Thea, Coen, and Nova have escaped from Achlys, only to find themselves imprisoned on a ship they thought was their ticket to safety. Now the nightmare they thought they’d left behind is about to be unleashed as an act of political warfare, putting the entire galaxy at risk.

To prevent an interstellar catastrophe, they’ll have to harness the evil of the deadly Achlys contagion and deploy the only weapons they have left: themselves.

Fans of Jonathan Maberry, Rick Yancey, and Madeleine Roux will relish Bowman’s tense, high-stakes conclusion to the events of contagion.

Series:

Contagion

Book 2

Book Type:

YA Sci Fi Thriller

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Immunity
By Erin Bowman

Excerpt: Immunity

Bestselling author Erin Bowman is back with IMMUNITY — the much-anticipated, high-stakes finale to CONTAGION. Action-packed, tense, and full of twists, this mix of sci-fi, thriller and horror is sure to keep you at the edge of your seat.

Read a sneak peek before it’s out tomorrow!

ALTHEA SADICK STOOD IN FRONT of the door to her holding cell. There was no mincing words; that’s what it was. Not a room or personal quarters, but a cell. A prison.

She cocked her head, considering the small window in the base of the door. It was meant to serve as a passage for food, so that guards could pass meals to her. At least she assumed there were guards. No matter how hard she stretched the limits of her now-extraordinary hearing, she couldn’t make out their heartbeats. There was only Coen Rivli, the boy monster in the cell beside hers. They were monsters together now, forever altered by the contagion they’d encountered on Achlys.

What plan? he whispered in her mind.

She’d told him she had one just moments earlier –  her first words spoken to him telepathically. Now she said only, Follow my lead.

When she’s first surveyed the room, Thea though the window in the door was too small to fit her. But Thea was small, too. Little more than a meter and a half tall, roughly forty-seven kilograms in weight, with a figure like an inverted pyramid. The widest part of Thea was her shoulders, not hips, and she’d never been more happy for it. If she angled her body while sliding through the window, her hips would pass easily. But her shoulders…

Thea reached across her body, grabbing her left wrist with her right hand. Moving deliberately, she tugged. As her shoulder popped from its socket, a small gasp escaped her. The pain was a tiny blip in her consciousness, and then her brain pushed the feeling aside.

Thea? came Coen’s voice. You okay?

Her pulse had quickened. He must have heard it.

I’m fine.

The glass was double-paned, secured with a latch on the outside. She kicked with her heel, shattering the first panel.

She froze, listening, stretching her hearing.

No one was coming. Motion sensors or cameras must not be watching the cells. Foolish.

She kicked again, breaking the second panel of glass. Thea was still barefoot, wearing only the T-shirt and leggings she’d been in when the crew of the UBS Paramount had taken her and Coen by force. She was still trying to process how the crew that she’d thought would be her savior had turned out to be an enemy. The Paramount had pulled in her shuttle not because it had been sent to rescue survivors from Achlys but because it was collecting a resource that would serve their agenda. Lieutenant Burke, Paramount’s acting captain, had made that much clear when interrogating Thea just earlier. Once he was done studying the Psychrobacter achli swimming in her – and Coen’s – veins, he would try to replicate it and control it.

Like all Radicals, Burke wanted the Trios to secede from the United Planetary Coalition. Even when so many citizens believed the systems were strongest united, he was hell-bent on Trios independence. And from what Thea had pieced together in her interrogation, it sounded like Hevetz Industries had allied with Burke as well, that the company’s owner was another Radical lurking in plain sight. If Burke got his way, he’d create an army of soldiers – hosts like Thea – to force the Union’s hand.

Thea bent, knocking the remaining shards of glass from the edge of the window frame. Then she lowered herself to the ground and poked her head through.

A dark hallway. No guards.

She wiggled forward. A stray piece of glass dug into her bicep, but she pressed on. Her shoulders slipped through the opening. The rest was easy. Just a quick tilt of her body when her hips reached the frame, and then she was in the hall.

She stood and moved to Coen’s cell, her feet tracking blood on the dark tiles. By the time she reached his door, she was no longer bleeding. The wounds had sealed, her body healing at inhuman speed.

A series of sliding metal bolts secured the door. She unlocked the first, second, third. Then tugged the door open.

Coen stood in the frame. Half of his shoulder-length hair was pulled back in a bun, a dark knot atop his head. The rest hung wildly around his face. His chest swelled with each breath, and beneath the collar of his T-shirt, Thea could make out the edges of his tattoo, black ink against his light brown skin.

Thea. His breathing was labored, as though it had been him forcing his way through that tiny window. His pulse beat with excitement.

Silently, he moved to her, crossing the threshold, gathering her in his arms.

Thea wasn’t prepared for how the contact softened her resolve. His chest beneath her cheek, his arms warm and reassuring on her back. So unlike the hands that had dragged her to this cell while she was only half-conscious. It almost made her want to linger. Almost.

He backed away quickly, as though he’d heard her thoughts. Perhaps he had. Then he took her wrist in his hand and braced his other palm against her dislocated shoulder. Don’t yell, he warned her.

She breathed out as he thrust her shoulder back in place. It was no worse than an annoying pinch.

Let’s go, she said.

There was only one direction to travel – down a dimly lit, windowless corridor lined with doors. Thea led the way past the cells, all empty based on the lack of heartbeats. A part of her had hoped she’d sense Nova Singh here. Their captors had cut the power to the pilot’s cryo pod when storming the Exodus shuttle – a gamble that could easily kill a person. Nova’s absence from this row of cells could mean only one of two things: she was dead and had been disposed of, or she was in a coma and being held elsewhere on the ship.

None of that’s good, Coen said.

Thea flinched; she hadn’t realized she’d been sharing her thoughts.

Sorry. I wasn’t trying to pry.

It’s not your fault if I’m projecting it, Thea said and hurried on. At the end of the hall was a service ladder. Thea grabbed the rungs and climbed, coming up against a smooth hatch door. The hand wheel to open it was surely on the other side. She put a palm to the cover, using all her strength to try to turn it. Help me with this.

Coen scrambled up the ladder. Working together, they pushed until the cover groaned, then creaked, then began to spin.

A moment later, Thea was shoving it up and stepping through the opening. She squinted in the newfound brightness. The room was a white cube, locked off on all ends. She sensed heartbeats, though, and zeroed in on the guards. Dozens of them, on the opposite side of a sealed door. They spotted her and shouted orders. Gas began to fill the chamber.

Quick! She motioned for Coen.

He joined her at the main door, but the ground sparked to life beneath them. Shock rod plates lined the floor. Heat surged through Thea’s bare soles, pain laced her limbs. When her legs betrayed her, she fell to her knees, waiting for the shock to subside. It didn’t. She sedative continued to pump into the room, and Thea slumped to her side, writhing.

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