Haven, book 2 in my Orbit Series is officially released one week on Saturday on the 24th October! I’m so excited I can barely contain it. Advance reviews and feedback have been great and I can’t wait to share the next instalments in Hugo’s and Webb’s stories with you.
For now, as the launch is approaching, I thought it might be nice to share an extract. I have previously shared the opening of the story. The following section takes place further into the narrative, is relatively spoiler free, although it does refer to the event which has driven Hugo to Haven in the first place. Don’t read if you’d rather find it all out as you go!
Hugo and Webb have broken into an unregistered apartment on Haven to look into the mysterious death of the occupant, who they suspect to be a member of a gang related to a crime they’re investigating. They are joined by an old friend of Webb’s, Jasmine ‘Jazz’ Leon and Hugo’s tearaway younger sister, Dana.
Warning: some violence included!
If you’ve not come across my SciFi Orbit Series before, find out more on my Orbit Series page.
The apartment smelt of damp and something sharp…chemical. It was unnervingly
quiet. Jazz found the light switch and they all stood blinking around a small room with a bare concrete floor, one chair at a workstation in the corner, a side with a sink and a microwave and nothing else.
“No place like home,” Webb muttered. “Jazz, think you can get in?” he said, nodding towards the workstation. “Looks like there’s nothing else to search.”
“I’ll see what I can find,” Jazz said, booting up the workstation and peering at the blinking screen.
“Where is he?” Dana said. “The victim?”
“In the bedroom,” Webb said, nodding towards an open door.
“Stay here,” Hugo said, moving past her.
“You don’t get to order me around.”
Hugo turned on his sister, face burning. “Yes I do. Of all the stupid things you’ve done, Dana, this is the most dangerous and the most stupid.”
“Did you just call me stupid?” Dana said, taking a step closer, black eyes flashing.
“Guys,” Webb growled. “Seriously?”
“And you can keep out of this too,” Dana said, stabbing a finger at Webb. “You have no idea -”
“He knows enough to be my Sponsor,” Hugo said. “He knows enough to have gotten us this far. I don’t know how you’ve got here, but you have no idea what you’re doing.”
“You are so hypocritical you don’t even know it.”
“This is not a game,” Hugo seethed.
“Game?” she returned. “Let’s talk about games. Sure, I’m dodging the probation system, but I’m doing it to bring that blade to justice for Marilyn. You are screwing the system, and your supposed friend,” she pointed at Webb again, “for your pride and nothing else.”
“Children,” Webb said, raising his hands. “This is not the damn time.”
“Have you even told him?” Dana said, hands on hips. “This man who you’ve had risk everything? Have you told him why you’re doing all this? Why you feel so guilty?”
Hugo ground his teeth. “He knows.”
“Hugo,” Webb said with a frown. “What’s she talking about?”
They all stared at each other, Hugo feeling his skin burn but unable to untangle his tongue.
“You,” Dana said to Jazz who was watching over her shoulder. “Keep working.” Jazz raised an eyebrow and turned back to the workstation whilst Dana faced the clone. “So, tell me, Webb. Did your captain tell you who gave Harvey this assignment? Who it was that ordered her to investigate bloodgrease traders?”
“She wanted to,” Hugo said, voice cracking.
“She should have been given a team,” Dana said. “She should have had Analyst input, armed backup, a partner, anything. But no. She was all on her own. So they came for her, knowing she was the only one who knew anything. That’s why he got suspended. Gross Misconduct.”
“I’m not justifying myself to you, Dana,” Hugo finally loosened his throat. “I’m here, making this right. You’ve gone AWOL from the Academy and snuck aboard the most dangerous colony in the Orbit, without a plan and with no field experience. You do not get to talk to me like I’m the irresponsible one.”
“The worst part is you can’t even see,” Dana said. “I bet he told you he was doing this for you, right? To give you a chance to get your own back?” Dana said to Webb who was looking pale. “Sorry, friend. He’s appeasing a guilty conscience and a bruised ego. That’s all that’s happening here.”
“Enough,” Hugo said. “Webb -” he said as Webb turned away towards the bedroom. “Webb, don’t listen to her,” he said, hurrying after him “She’s always twisting the truth.”
“Must be a family trait,” Webb muttered, stepping through to the bedroom and turning on the light.
Hugo stopped on the threshold. The thin man’s body was on the bed, tangled in the sheets with limbs splayed. His skin was a sickly grey except where it was purpled with bruises from the struggle. His red-rimmed eyes were wide open and staring. His mouth hung at a broken angle. What was left of his throat was a tattered and bloody mess. The spray of blood went up one wall and spattered the ceiling over the bed. His face, nightshirt and bed clothes were saturated. The smell of old blood was cloying and cold. Daubed on the wall in thick black paint was a large cross.
“It looks…different,” Hugo managed.
“The cross?” Webb tore his eyes from the body to examine the mark. “It wasn’t a spray-and-run, like we did. They took their time. But whether it was before or after they cut him -”
“Before,” Dana said as she joined them. She was a little pale as she took in the scene but kept her voice steady and her expression blank. “There’s blood on top of the paint, there.” She pointed.
“How did they paint the cross without waking him?” Hugo said.
Webb swallowed. “Very carefully.”
“Or he was drugged,” Dana murmured, leaning over the body and looking into the eyes.
“Hey,” Jazz called from the next room, stopping Hugo from dragging Dana away from the dead man. “I think I’ve found something.”
“What…?” Webb started to ask when they all stopped still. There were voices in the stairwell.
“Quick.,” Hugo whispered, pointing to another door off the bedroom.
Jazz switched off the workstation as Hugo shut off the lights and Dana and Webb hurried through the door. Hugo and Jazz joined them in the tiny bathroom a second later and pulled the door to in the dark. Hugo held himself still and willed his breathing to calm. There was the sound of the apartment door unlocking and then voices in the apartment.