© 2017 by Eve Silver. 

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Northern Waste Series

Hidden

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Sub-basement, Janson Transport Head Office, Port Uranium

January 2088

Blood had its own scent. Metallic, sharp. Faintly sweet.

Tatiana raised her hand to her cheek. She was beyond pain, almost beyond thought. There would be more. With Duncan Bane, there was always more.

To make you stronger. To make you invincible. Bane’s justification. And the simple truth. But Tatiana wasn’t like Wizard or Yuriko. She didn’t recover as quickly as her siblings. She bruised easier. Her bones broke where Wizard’s and Yuriko’s bent to absorb the force.

And Bane had been particularly brutal this session.

“Because you are soon to go on your first mission,” he explained in that soft, soft cultured voice, pacing a straight line before the three of them. He paused, touched Tatiana on the shoulder. She shuddered, but knew better than to pull away. “This will ensure that you are ready, that you survive. You”-he spun toward Wizard-“will be the commander, and a commander must be able to make rapid decisions.”

Another step, and Bane stood in front of Yuriko. Running his finger along her cheek, he smiled as she jerked away. “So decide now, Wizard. Who will be subjected to ten more minutes?”

Tatiana choked back a plea. Please. I can’t. I can’t-

She shook her head, struggled to focus. The room felt too big, too bright, and this all felt so familiar, like she had been here many times before. She knew what Wizard would say even before the words left his lips.

“Me. I will take the ten minutes.”

She let out a dry sob. Wizard. Her brother, so logical even in this. He would take the blows because he was the strongest. He would stand before her and take them in her stead.

Yuriko was like him. Clean and linear in thought and action.

But Tatiana…

Bane laughed as he stared at Wizard, the sound hollow, echoing off the bare walls, echoing in her darkest dreams.

Yes, just a dream. It must be.

“You are the commander,” he said. “The fastest. The strongest. You have the best chance of finishing your mission. I may send you out tonight, before you have time to heal. Choose the weakest, Wizard. A good commander knows when to calculate the odds, when to sacrifice for the good of the mission.”

“Wizard…save her. Please. She has a chance,” Yuriko’s normally cool tone was laced with despair, with pain, and Tatiana’s heart shattered as it did each time the nightmares sank her to this place, to the deep dark of her soul, the coldest part of her memories. Because in begging Wizard to save Tatiana, Yuriko had doomed herself.

Bane would set loose his brutality on her.

Trembling, Tatiana swayed on her feet, her swollen lips working as she tried to form the words…what words? Did she mean to offer herself to Bane’s fists, or to sacrifice her sister?

Again came the eerie, frightening sensation of familiarity and the terrifying knowledge that she had lived these moments again and again, that the outcome was always the same.

The walls around her shimmered and danced, and she heard voices, saw lights. They were wrong.

They had no place here.

She had no place here. None of it was real.

Heart racing, palms damp, Tatiana began to run, her feet pounding against the cold stone floor, hard, fast. Only she didn’t move at all. Her limbs pumped as hard and as fast as they could, and still she stayed in one place, trapped in the past.

She needed only to pull free, come awake, and they would be gone-the pain, the memories, the horror. But neither the bonds of sleep nor the terrors that dwelled in her memories eased to set her free. They held her in tight tendrils that dragged her back and pulled her into a place she had no wish to be.

Wizard…save her. Please. She has a chance.

Yuriko’s voice, low, urgent.

Bound in the barbed web of events that had played out long ago, Tatiana thrashed and flailed. A dream. A dream. It was only a dream.

“Calculate the odds,” Bane ordered.

Tatiana’s breath came in short, huffing pants. She couldn’t push any sound past the lump in her throat. Coward. She was a coward. Weak.

Hazy, unfocused, she shifted her gaze to Wizard. Silently she pleaded for…what? What did she want him to do? What could he do?

The outcome was always the same. She had been powerless to change it then, was powerless to change it now.

“Choose.” Bane whispered the word against Wizard’s ear.

For the first time in her recollection, her brother hesitated.

Choose. Choose. Choose.

And then Bane’s face melted like wax in a flame, shifting, changing, until it was a different man who chained her, a different man who stood looking down at her wanting to master her, to use her, to twist what she was for his own gain.

She had thought Bane the face of purest evil. But she’d been wrong. So wrong.

Gavin Ward. Dr. Gavin Ward.

He was here for her. Her time was up.

Sweating, screaming, Tatiana bolted upright, the dream so real that she smelled the stink of her own fear, felt the sting of the blows on her cheek, her jaw, as though they had landed minutes rather than years past. Felt the pain of knowing that her weakness had cost her sister her life.

Yuriko. Oh, God. Yuriko.

Tatiana wrapped her arms around her knees and lowered her forehead. She closed her eyes, shuddering in the cold and the darkness, fighting the memories, the anguish, the fear.

A nightmare, she told herself. Only a nightmare.

But it wasn’t.

Because as she raised her head, she saw him, there, in the shadows, just beyond the bars that caged her. Gavin Ward was there. Watching.

And the light glinted off the scalpel in his hand.

Chapter One
Book 3  |  Dystopian
 Northern Waste Series

[Silver]’s name is fast becoming synonymous with high-octane, gritty adventure….What immediately elevates these books, besides great plotting and worldbuilding, is the depth and texture of her characters. This is a perfect action romance!

—Romantic Times BOOKreviews, Top Pick

[Silver] keeps bringing a fresh aspect to romance with strong worldbuilding and a poignant love story. It’s a true marriage of the themes of fantasy/science fiction and romance in ways that the romance reader hasn’t been exposed to much in the past.

—DearAuthor.com

Accolades

Hidden earns 4-1/2 star Top Pick from Romantic Times BOOKreviews
RT Reviewers Choice Award nominee
P.E.A.R.L. Award nominee

ISBN: 9780986935749
ISBN-13: 978-0505527615
ISBN-10: 0505527618

For most of her life Tatiana was imprisoned, tortured in the name of science, her DNA used to create a plague that could wipe out the entire population of the Northern Waste. But since her escape she’s no one’s victim. Not any more. She means to hunt down her tormentor, kill him, and destroy the plague he created. Nothing slows her down or distracts her from her mission. Until she encounters the mysterious Tristan who claims his goals match hers. Enemy or ally, she has no way to know…but she does know better than to trust a smart and sexy stranger who’s alpha to the core. While her body aches for his touch, her mind recognizes that he’s a man with secrets and a hidden agenda of his own. She means to discover what he’s hiding, but first they’ll have to survive ice pirates, a lethal plague, and being trapped in an underground lab, running like rats in a maze from a deadly threat unleashed by a madman.