Lynne Matson Nil Unlocked (Nil Series)

ISBN 13: 9781627792936

Nil Unlocked (Nil Series)

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9781627792936: Nil Unlocked (Nil Series)
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On the island of Nil, the rules are set. You have exactly 365 days to escape―or you die. Rives is now the undisputed Leader of Nil City, but keeping the City united is tougher than ever.

Raiders have grown bolder, supplies are dwindling, and non-human inhabitants have taken a turn toward the deadly. New arrivals cause rifts within the City, putting the Search system at risk, and calling everything Rives knows into question. Desperate for answers, he teams up with the only other person searching for them: Skye, a new arrival with a mysterious past of her own. Soon the duo find themselves locked in a desperate race to save all the residents of Nil―and possibly destroy the island forever. But at what cost? And who will pay the price?

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About the Author:

Lynne Matson grew up in Georgia in a house full of books and a backyard full of gnarly pines. She attended the University of Florida, where she met and married her husband, the cutest boy she's ever seen. Now, Lynne is mother to four amazing boys. A former attorney, she is thrilled to be making a new career in YA fiction.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

CHAPTER
1
CHARLEY
AUGUST 10, NOON
 
 
Heat.
Inexplicable, consuming heat—choking like smoke, burning like fire.
That was my last memory before the invisible flames spiked into icy nothingness, along with the crazy thought that if I survived this bewildering bonfire, my dad would freak when I was late returning his new car.
CHARLEY
AUGUST 10, 11:56 A.M.
Dang, it’s hot.
I’d been out of the car for all of one minute, and I was already roasting like a skinny rotisserie chicken. The asphalt radiated heat. Shifting my feet, I fumbled with Dad’s keys, dying to climb back into his Volvo with its arctic air-conditioning and new car smell.
Instead, I grabbed the plastic bag from the back seat and slammed the door. I had fifty dollars’ worth of clothes to return. Fifty dollars of my hard-earned summer babysitting money, wasted on two silly skirts I never should’ve bought in the first place. The minis were crazy short, and on me, they looked downright skanky. I’d never wear them, and had Em or Jen been with me, they wouldn’t have let me put the darn skirts in the cart.
But yesterday, like today, it was just me.
Well, crap, I thought, biting my lip as I stared at the empty car. I hated being alone. I always had, and I hated that I hated it. I mean, I’d never even gone to see a movie by myself and secretly envied people who could. The truth was, I’d never had to be alone. My sister, Em, was always around, or Jen, my best friend since second grade. Or both.
Until now.
A fresh wave of loneliness washed over me with the heat; it was the same wave I’d felt when we’d dropped Em off at college last week, and again yesterday when I’d watched Jen board a plane bound for Milan. My two favorite people, gone.
Not forever, I reminded myself. I refused to pitch a pity party in the Target lot. It’s just a few months, four at the most. Jen’s study abroad program ended in December. By Christmas, life would be good, and our senior spring would rock. Until then, I had volleyball. Practices would keep me busy, and games would keep me focused. And I’d visit Em in Athens every chance I could.
Feeling slightly better, I locked Dad’s car and faced the open lot. Asphalt as black as coal stretched before me, broken only by lonely white lines. Park in the far corner, Dad had said, tossing me his keys with a wink. Catching the keys, I’d smiled. I love you too, Dad.
Of course I’d parked in the far corner. No other car was anywhere close.
Now that I was walking, far wasn’t the word. It was like I’d parked in dadgum Egypt, and I’d swear it was just as hot. Not that I’d ever been to Egypt, but I couldn’t imagine it was any hotter than Georgia in August. The Target bull’s-eye flashed like fire in the distance. Near the lot’s center, the asphalt shimmered in the heat. I watched the ground blur, absently thinking of a desert oasis. It was the kind of shimmer that moves with you … moves away, always out of reach.
Not this one. This shimmer stretched into the air, rippling like a wall of wavy glass. Then it rolled.
Swiftly.
Strangely.
Toward me.
In the time it took to blink, the air in front of me melted. It undulated, like a wave of liquid crystal, and before I could breathe, the wave engulfed me in a silent rush.
Hot air gripped me like a vise, then burst into flames. Every speck of skin screamed; every nerve ending exploded.
I’m being flash-fried in the Target lot! The thought ripped through my brain as the invisible flames drove deeper. I tried to scream, but choked on the heat; it was in my mouth, in my lungs, in me, like a living darkness I couldn’t shake. Blistering tar coursed through my veins, then filled my chest, stealing my air and slicking behind my eyes.
A darkness blacker than asphalt rushed at me; I fell to meet it. My last sensation was of icy cold. A biting cold as raw and as painful as the heat had been seconds before, and then—nothing.
No light. No sound.
No air.

 
Text copyright © 2014 Lynne Mason

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