Subversion by Melinda Friesen

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Today we are excited to introduce you to Subversion by Melinda Friesen.

Subversion Author Melinda Friesen

Subversion

“I surrender my days, my efforts, myself to the OneEarth Bank . . .”

After fleeing slavery, Rielle James burns with the desire to topple OneEarth Bank and end its enslavement of young people as Contracts. When she learns that her friend Nathan has been sold to a logging company where Contracts die or vanish without a trace, she assumes a false identity and becomes a slave again to help him escape.

Her act of subversion uncovers the horrific truth behind the OneEarth Bank’s role in Contract disappearances and its link to a global pandemic.

Can Rielle and Nathan escape and expose the truth before it’s too late?

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Subversion Excerpt:

The next evening, I set a pail of bleach water on a dining hall table and swab away bits of corn and smudges of gravy.

A bench creaks and breaks my concentration. I look up. In the corner, at the opposite end of the cafeteria, Asher leans back in his chair with his feet propped up on the table.

I glance over my shoulder at the kitchen door, my best route of escape. I dip the cloth clutched in my jittery hand into the water and wring it out.

“Jessica Ruby,” Asher says loudly.

I grip the rag tighter and look up.

Asher grins and pulls his holo from his breast pocket. The screen sends up its usual silver-blue glow with the spinning OneEarth Bank symbol. The logo disappears and my face takes its place. “Jessica Ruby, age 19,” he reads.

I pin my stare on the table and rub the rag over the surface.

“Originally from Tallahassee, Florida. Sold to Arthur Hayes. Could that be the same Arthur Hayes who’s the genius behind commerce chips?”

He’s toying with me, but I refuse to take the bait. I scrub a dried on blob of gravy.

He falls silent for a moment. His silence tightens around me like a rope.

“Hmm, this is interesting,” he says.

I sweep up crumbs into my hand. Don’t look up. Don’t give him the satisfaction.

“Arthur Hayes owned a few other Contracts too . . . well, look at that. He owned Rielle James, niece of the terrorist. Did you know her?”

I steel my voice. “No. He must’ve bought her after he sold me.”

“Yes, yes. You’re right.”

Was that some sort of test?

“Hey, you know who else he owned?” The front legs of his chair slam against the tile and he stands. “Nathan Bristol.”

He strides toward me and I drop the cloth on the table, stepping backward.

He seizes my ponytail and twists it tight. “How interesting that the two of you would end up in the same place. Again.” He leans in, his mouth a paper width from my ear. “And yet you act like strangers.”

Hot breath brushes my neck and bile creeps up my throat.

He pulls back and looks at my face.

I swallow. “We didn’t really know each other. Just saw each other in passing. And Contracts can’t control where they end up.”

“True. Seems like an odd coincidence, though. Don’t you think?”

I nod.

“I’m going to keep an extra special eye on you two. How about that?” He twists my hair even tighter.

I try to nod, but his grip keeps my head rigidly in place. “Okay.”

“If you’re up to something, I’m going to figure it out.”

“We’re not. Just a coincidence.” My voice breaks.

He releases my hair. Then he deactivates his holo, slides it back into his pocket and leaves through the front door. With my pulse thundering in my ears, I watch until the door swings shut and then lean against the table hyperventilating.

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About the Author: Melinda Friesen writes novels for teens and short stories. Her contest winning short stories have appeared in various periodical and an anthology. Enslavement, book one in the One Bright Future series, is her first novel.

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Subversion Author Melinda Friesen

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