Tyler Bennett trusts no one. Just another foster kid bounced from home to home, he’s learned that lesson the hard way. Cue world’s tiniest violin. But when strange things start happening—waking up with bloody knuckles and no memory of the night before or the burner phone he can’t let out of his sight— Tyler starts to wonder if he can even trust himself.
Even stranger, the girl he’s falling for has a burner phone just like his. Finding out what’s really happening only leads to more questions…questions that could get them both killed. It’s not like someone’s kidnapping teens lost in the system and brainwashing them to be assassins or anything, right? And what happens to rogue assets who defy control?
In a race against the clock, they’ll have to uncover the truth behind Project Pandora and take it down—before they’re reactivated. Good thing the program spent millions training them to kick ass…
She trained her eyes in front of her as she hurried down the hall. Even in the large living room, she felt suffocated. She returned the key to her pocket and eased her hands to her side. Slowly, the tension dissipated, and she began to feel calm again. Prepared.
Apollo unzipped his backpack and removed a black ski mask from the main compartment. He passed it to her before retrieving a second one for himself.
She held the mask, twisting the knit fabric between her fingers. She didn’t want to put it on just yet.
His face was expressionless, but as she watched him, his golden tan blanched into a sickly pallor. He took repeated glances at his wristwatch. Twice, he reached into his jacket to touch the gun, as if hoping to comfort himself. Each time, he jerked his hand back with a low, terrified moan, like his fingers had skimmed over a snake’s rattle instead of cool metal.
Even when they made accidental eye contact, neither spoke. Silence was their partner in crime, unseen and unheard, but felt as heaviness in the air that was even more burdensome than gravity.
One minute passed, then two.
She put her ski mask on, and Apollo followed her example. Even with his face hidden, the wideness of his eyes betrayed his tension.
He began to pace, muttering to himself. Shannon could only make out the first two words. The rest had the same syntax and syllable count, though, so she had a feeling he was repeating himself.
Another lap of the second hand around the clock face, another suppressed twitch of the minute hand. Another circuit around the room. Numerous more harried looks at his watch.
She pressed her lips together and watched Apollo go. Her hands trembled, but she did not feel sorry. She felt nothing at all.
Four minutes had passed.
“I’m so sorry.”
Without thinking, she reached out to Apollo as he circled toward her again. Through her gloves, she felt the hard muscle of his biceps.
For a moment, he just stared at her with those beautiful, tortured eyes. Then he murmured, “We don’t have to do this.”
A jolt passed through her as his words shattered her calm. This wasn’t the Apollo she knew. The pain and confusion in his soft, lulling voice was all wrong. It didn’t belong.
“Why are we doing this?” he asked. She thought he wanted to say more, but before he could continue, the creak of the front door stole his words.
Footsteps echoed down the hall.
He stared at her, his face hidden, but his gaze filled with despair.
Her throat clenched around a whimper. She wanted to comfort him, and that was wrong. It was against her orders. Unwanted and unneeded.
Violence is necessary, a voice whispered in her head. The future is built on bloodshed.
She must kill.
About the Aden Polydoros:
Aden Polydoros grew up in Long Grove, Illinois, the youngest of three children. Aden’s family moved to Arizona when he was in second grade. As a kid, he spent much of his time exploring the desert near his home. When he wasn’t searching for snakes and lizards, he was raiding the bookshelves of the local library. As a teenager, Aden decided that he wanted to be a writer. He spent his free time writing short stories. He was encouraged by his English teacher to try his hand at writing a novel, which inspired him to begin Project Pandora. The YA thriller is set for publication with Entangled Publishing in Summer of 2017. He is represented by Mallory Brown of Triada US.