If you haven't already done so, you can add BREAKING SAINT JUDE to your Goodreads TBR list! (Teaser is from unedited version - may differ slightly from final published manuscript)
It’s dark outside long before I want it to be. I’ve got that nauseous feeling in my gut – that “I’m going to get caught and my parents are going to flip out and I’ll die in prison” kind of nausea. Maybe they’ll just send me to juvie. I can’t afford to be tried as an adult. I’d end up as some serial killer’s bitch, and Tucker Livingston wouldn’t be there to have my back. Not that he could do much. He’s small. Eventually they’d break him. Terry might be the better option as a cellmate. He has that creepy evil smile, sort of like he has rabies.
My clothes stick to my skin in that horribly uncomfortable way. It’s hot and cramped in Caleb’s truck. I rest my head against the back glass, hoping some of the night’s cold air will seep through and ease my nerves. I can’t afford to bomb on this. They need me, and I need to prove I’m better than Max’s ex. I need them to see that I can handle this – this whole secret underground brotherhood thing. I slide the black gloves onto my hands. I have to prove myself.
Three blocks from the zoo, we pull into an abandoned alleyway. Caleb kills the engine and exchanges seats with Max, who will be our getaway driver. Max glances up in the rearview, but I’m glad I can’t see his eyes. Part of me expects them to be bright with excitement and anticipation, but another part of me feels that they hold a darkness that even this black out won’t be able to compete with.
The smarter part of me wants to back out right now. My rational brain says I should hide out in Tuck’s eighteen wheeler until they get back, but the jealous boyfriend side of me has to do this. I won’t bail on Max. I won’t bail on the brotherhood. I won’t be a coward.
Everything rushes together as Caleb goes over the map with Max – where to enter, how to access the dirt road, how far of a distance he needs to keep from the dock. Max repeats the directions back verbatim.
“You think you can pull it off in the dark? You can get us in and out?” Tuck asks. He doesn’t sound the least bit troubled. He doesn’t even twitch.
“I got us covered,” Max says. He sounds confident too.
Now isn’t the time for me to doubt myself. I can do this. Silence hovers over us for a few seconds, weighing down the air and suffocating me. Caleb’s screen reflects a bright green glow on his face, and he looks around the truck.
“The cameras will be down for about three or four minutes before they try to reboot themselves. The reboot itself will take about two minutes,” he says. “As soon as I hit the button, it’s all go. No time for hesitation.”
Max cranks up Caleb’s truck. Tuck pulls on his black gloves. Terry shoots me this crazy-eyed glance. This is it.
“We’re down,” Caleb says. “Go!”
Max slams the accelerator, and we all lunge forward like we’re on a rollercoaster taking off from zero to sixty in two seconds flat. He loops around the building next to the alleyway quickly but is careful not to burn rubber or draw attention to us in the process.
“I’m into the city,” Caleb announces. “Hacking the electric system as we speak.”
Those three blocks from the zoo blur together in a dark city rush. We find the dirt road. Max kills the headlights, but the streetlamps from the zoo spill over just enough to light our way. Dust kicks up around the truck like the earth is protesting our being here, but Max plows through the night.
“Let me out,” Tuck says.
He cracks the back door open, and the interior lights flash on. The truck dings once to let Max know a door is open. We slow to a near stop, and Tuck jumps out. He rolls into the shadows. Holy mother of broken glass – I cannot believe we’re about to do this.
I spin around and watch through the back glass, hoping to catch a glimpse of a dark figure moving through the shadows along the edge of the fence, but Tuck is a goddamn mastermind. He knows better than to be seen.
And so does my Maxi boy. He pulls off into a dark pit of nothingness. We’re in the hollows of nowhere, in the middle of a dirt road, next to a zoo’s morgue. Even the zoo’s streetlamps have dulled. There’s no sign of life. I bet the night crew doesn’t even know they’ve lost camera footage. It’s been two minutes. No time for hesitation.
Caleb flips the laptop open again. The brightness of the screen makes me wince. A glow fills his face. He types in a few numbers and weird symbols, and crazy lines of binary codes run across the screen. The smile on Caleb’s face means success.
“Let’s go,” Terry says.
I grip the door handle and tumble out of the truck. I try to do that elegant bounce-back that Hawthorne does when he tumbles off the couch, but my ninja moves are weak. Terry laughs and grabs my arm.
We dart off to the shadows and inch along the fence. We stay low, faded into the blackness, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. That’s when it happens. There’s no warning, no streetlamps choking, no fizzle to darkness. The entire city shuts down.
I hear the smile in Terry’s voice when he says it. “Good night, city of Pierre.”