Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Splinter by London Cole

Yay it's Tuesday, which means it's time for a new tease to tickle your reading senses. This week's tease comes from a good friend of Jen and mine. We both met London on Twitter and bonded over Rum and beers. Who better to share a drink with than someone you've met on Twitter. Get ready and enjoy this week's tease. Trust me when I say this tease will have you on the edge of your seat.

Synopsis: Seventeen year-old Acquisitions Specialist Drake Adair is legendary at his job: he can obtain anything from anyone and from anywhere, without getting caught. At least, he’s never been caught before.

This time things go differently. He ends up on the run from the enemy Guild and takes refuge in a cave, only to become trapped in a pit in the back of the cave. He might be the only living human in there, but he’s not alone.

Kelsie Blake, Drake's roommate and closest friend since she fled her filicidal father, has secrets. Secrets she keeps even from Drake. Sneaking outside the Gates into the wild, she risks everything for a little excitement. Her lies now threaten everything she cares about most in her life.

Drake unearths a plot by an enemy Guild to tear apart life as he knows it. The very people closest to him may be pawns in the grisly scheme, leaving Kelsie and Drake with no one to turn to as they struggle to find answers before it's too late.

Set eighty years after World War III, Kelsie and Drake pair up to protect the only life they know in a harsh and unforgiving world. They must each come to grips with his abilities, her secrets, and their mixed feelings for each other. Will they make it? Or will the very foundations of their lives be ripped from beneath them.



IT’S NOT LIKE I’VE never fallen into a pit before, but this time was different. This time I was running for my life through a pitch-black cave when the ground disappeared.
Something crunched when I landed. I couldn’t tell what I’d broken. Part of me or something else.
Giving myself a pat-down to check for broken bones, I decided I was intact and hopped to my feet to shake it off. I cursed and mourned the loss of my favorite flashlight. I’d been running full tilt through the dense woods at night before finding the cave that led to this hole.
With cautious steps, I began inspecting the pit. I was pretty sure I’d fallen around four meters. It was approximately five meters across and roughly round. I didn’t find any other holes to be worried about falling into. I also felt safer knowing that the men chasing me wouldn’t be able to get to me except through the same tunnel I’d come down, thus giving me a clear warning of their approach through the cramped passage.
I headed back to where I’d landed. Something round like a large rock turned under my foot and sent me sprawling backwards.
“Smooth, Drake. Real smooth,” I muttered under my breath. I still wasn’t sure someone hadn’t followed me into the cave in the hillside and didn’t want to make too much noise.
When I landed on the pit floor this time, I noticed something under my hands. Feeling around for one of the objects, I picked it up and ran my fingers down the length. I knew instantly from the texture and weight what it was. A bone. A human bone.
I tossed it and heard the clacking sound that only bones impacting other bones can make. It’s enough to get your skin crawling, even if there was light.
Climbing to my knees, I felt around for what had tripped me. It was on my hit-list.
Using my hands to blindly explore the floor around me, my right hand found the culprit.
Holding the semi-round object, I inspected it by touch and quickly found two rounded holes with a jagged triangular hole below them.
Great, a human skull and I’m surrounded by bones likely belonging to the pit’s last victims. That’s a comforting thought.
Holding my breath to allow for absolute silence, I listened for any noises that would signal pursuit. It was hard to hear much over the pounding of my heart, but I heard the dogs howling in the distance. I didn’t worry too much about them, but it seemed safest to remain here for now.
After being on the run for the last forty-eight hours straight, the exhaustion was catching up. It was only a half-hour hike through the woods to get back to my home on Sven Guild land where I could relax, but I wanted to give my pursuers and their dogs time to lose my trail.
Setting the skull down next to me, I started searching for my pack, whose contents had put me in this sticky situation. Finding it, I pulled the pack to my side, hearing countless bones and skulls clunking hollowly together as the bag dragged across them.
Only minutes before, I had been running from Briln Water Guild guards and their dogs. I’d started to get worried for the first time that I wasn’t going to make it back to safety before they caught up to me, when I saw the small cave entrance peeking out from behind a bush at the base of a hill. I’d ducked into it, losing light immediately and running blind. Crawling, to be more precise. Whatever was ahead had to be better than the pursuit behind me.
Oddly, the air didn’t smell. At least, not any more than a dank cave. I still wrinkled my nose; it was disturbing with all of the bones around. I resigned myself to being stuck in the dark for a few hours. Picking up a skull, I started turning it around in my hands.
“Well, looks like it’s just you and me tonight. I sure hope you didn’t die because you couldn’t find a way out of this hole, but I’ll worry about that in the morning,” I said aloud to the skull in a hoarse whisper.
Putting off rest any longer was futile. This was as safe a place as any to catch some sleep. I set the skull down beside me and shivered as my finger grazed the teeth. Besides, it was too dark for me to find my way out now.
Maybe in the morning there would be a little light, allowing my escape. I rested my head back against the wall of the pit, closed my eyes, and fell asleep to the aroma of musty, stale air.


WHERE IS HE? HE was sometimes gone for days, but always contacted me at some point. Drake had told me he’d be back in a day at most. It was supposed to be a quick snatch-and-grab, going to a location he had been to numerous times. It didn’t make it any less dangerous though, and he always turned his communicator off while on “missions,” as he liked to call them.
I tossed aside the project I’d been working on. My head just wasn’t in it. I couldn’t focus. I was exhausted from not having slept well the last few nights. This was a new feeling for me, worrying. I’d never been a worrier before, and I didn’t like it.
I got up and went outside the Development facility where I worked for a break. My third break that hour. After a few minutes I came back in and made a pot of tea to try and relax me. I looked at the dark liquid swirling in the cup, longing for a dash of milk. I tried to remember what it tasted like, milk. Cows were nearly extinct in this post-apocalyptic world and getting a hold of milk was more impossible than getting clean meat.
Here at the Development facility, where we took what the Acquisitions Specialists – Ackspecs – brought in and found uses for it, we had developed a substance from vegetable proteins that almost had a texture like ground meat. When seasoned properly it could almost taste like meat, too. Almost.
I shook my head to clear the longing out. Immediately my stomach sank, and I was filled with worry again. I went back to the worktable where I’d set down the half-drawn schematics for my new project and picked them up, setting my tea next to me on the chair. Rebecca, the lead Developer that I apprenticed under, had a strict “no beverages or food on the work surfaces, unless it is work related” policy.
“Kelsie, dear. What’s wrong? You haven’t had any production all day. I can’t see that you’ve even made any progress,” Rebecca said, having come up behind me to look over my shoulder. “Actually, that diode goes over there, as you well know. Goodness, you designed this project after all.”
I realized suddenly that my arms were sore and stiff. I was still holding the unfinished project up in front of me. The way my arms felt, I must have been holding it up for a while, lost in thought.
“Wow, that’s a very stupid mistake. I’m sorry.”
Rebecca put a motherly hand on my shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. “I know. It’s very unlike you.”
“I’m having a problem focusing. Drake’s been gone for days; he’s never gone this long without giving me a detailed plan first. I wouldn’t even know where to start looking for him.” Unwanted tears started welling in the corners of my eyes. I hurried to blink them away.
Rebecca gave my shoulder another squeeze. “I’m sure he’s all right. Drake is very much like his father – he can survive anything.”
“I know; I hope so. He’s all I have. The closest thing I have to a family.”
“I know, sweetie. How ’bout you take the rest of the day off.”
I turned to look at her to see if she was serious. “Really? Thank you. I’m so sorry for being useless.” I really was. Normally I could hold it together better. I was ashamed of falling apart like this in public. I was the daughter of a Magistrate, after all. A psychopathic Magistrate who had gone crazy and tried to kill his own daughter, but still, a Magistrate. With that memory, the floodgates opened and piping hot tears poured out of my eyes in a torrent as I made it to the door.
My cheeks burning with the unwanted tears, I hurried down the narrow street to the house I shared with Drake. I took a different route than normal to avoid everyone.
It took me directly along the path at the base of the tall wall that surrounded our small town. Most people of the town, known as a Guild, stayed well clear of the wall for fear of seeing what was on the other side. I walked quickly to the house to check if Drake was home yet.
When I got home and found the house empty, I decided to do the only thing that really clears my head. Creature hunting. The excitement and rush helps purge my mind: knowing that I could be killed at any second if I let my guard down, knowing that Drake might catch me.
I stepped into some tight but stretchy pants and a leather shirt. I’d never liked leather, but it acts as a light armor and does a good job protecting me against mutant claws and teeth. I pulled my short hair back in a ponytail and tied it up. Next, I slipped on a pair of gum-soled shoes. I put a few thin throwing knives into my belt and fixed the sheath to my thigh.
Now the main weapon: a short, double-edged sword. This I hung in its scabbard on my back. The handle stuck up perfectly behind my right shoulder. I had designed the scabbard and sword so that I could draw it in the blink of an eye, yet it stayed out of the way as well. Sometimes a gun would be nicer, but ammunition was hard to come by. It was just easier to acquire a sword, and I never had to reload it. Lastly, I threw on a lightweight long-coat that covered my weapons and strange attire, and would allow me to get through town without drawing attention. I would stash it once I was outside the Gate.
I stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom to make sure I had everything on. For a moment I wished, for perhaps the millionth time, that I had even a single hint about where to look for Drake. All he had said was that he was going in deep to get a load of rare, processed charcoal for the air filters we needed for Ash season. Said he had stumbled onto a stash of it once, but this was the first chance he’d had to retrieve it.
I absentmindedly fingered the jewelry hanging around my neck, pendant hovering just at the top of my cleavage. It was a silver creature. I think it was called a dolphin, but couldn’t be sure. All creatures like that were long since extinct. Drake had given it to me a couple of years ago. He’d gotten it in one of the waste cities. I had worn it every day since, especially when I went outside the Gates. It was my lucky charm. Anytime I got myself into a bad situation, I would feel it against my chest and it helped remind me of what Drake would do.
I was flooded with worry again. My stomach balled up in a knot. I inhaled a deep breath and decided I was ready. What I needed was to get this out of my mind; filling my veins with adrenaline was the way to do just that. I needed to remind myself that I was tougher than this. I was a skilled fighter. Killing mutants was something I did on a regular basis. I was bad-ass.
Of course, no one else knew that. It was my secret. 

After a cautious glance out the back door of my house to make sure no one was around, I stepped out quickly and flattened myself to the whitewashed wooden wall. It was still muddy out from the light acid rain we’d gotten while I’d been at the Development facility, and mud clung to my boots. It probably wasn’t necessary to be this cautious behind my house, since my back door faced the tall wall that surrounded the whole Guild I lived in. No one else wanted their house so near the wall – the strange noises that permeated from the other side at night were disturbing. That meant that the only way that anyone would see me back here was if they were virtually in the backyard. Which would have been cause for alarm in and of itself.
Still, I was very cautious because it wouldn’t be good to be caught.
I slipped silently across the crushed rock path that led around the house. Sticking my head out past the corner of the next house, I checked for people. Figuring everyone was still inside from the rain, I darted out of my cover to cross the narrow path that we called a street. My destination was a clump of small trees on the other side of the street behind a business.
Footsteps crunched as I got to the center of the street. A couple of women’s voices accompanied them. Not good. Thinking fast, I dove for cover under a nearby porch. I quite literally mean dove. Rocks and debris dug at my knees through my pants and cut into my bare palms as my head narrowly missed a beam. I hit the side of the house under the porch with a dull thump.
The pair of women walked right on by down the street, apparently having been far too engrossed in their own conversation to notice the sixteen-year-old girl diving under a porch.
Just as I breathed a sigh of relief, the door above me opened, checking to see what the thump had been, no doubt.
“Hello? Anyone?” a gruff voice asked as I watched through the gaps between the porch boards.
Not receiving an answer, the owner of the voice walked out to the end of the deck and looked around the corner of the house. He “humphed” and headed back inside.
Now I could breathe again. It might seem crazy that I was going to this length to maintain secrecy. But it really wasn’t. Everyone in our two-hundred person Guild had a job. You did the job you were assigned or else they kicked you out of the Guild. Without a Guild, you were pretty much as good as dead.

{End of Tease}
Find Splinter at

                                About the Author

London Cole is an NA and YA Paranormal author living in various places around the  US. When he's not writing he can be found doing laps in his pool, playing a rock concert, or any of a variety of outdoor extreme sports.

London's debut Splinter is a Dystopian Paranormal based on the island he was raised on, Whidbey Island. Only, it's the island eighty years after the Third World War, and everything is a lot different...and a lot meaner.

Visit London Cole at his blog: http://www.londoncole.com



  1. I assume you guys only have the 'follow by email' option? No GFC or anything? :)