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Mar 21, 2015

The Null & The Devoid by Loralie Hall

Cover, Excerpt & Trailer

The Null & The Devoid
by Loralie Hall

The Null & The DevoidMax and Taylor have spent the last decade running.
From the people who killed their families. From an organization that wants to experiment on them… dead or alive. And from an epidemic that could drive Taylor insane and unleash his psychic abilities.

But even fugitives need to earn a living.
As one of the world’s most notorious hacker teams, Max and Taylor burrow their way in to digital closets to find the darkest secrets of their powerful targets, and expose them for all to see. The biggest drawback—a list of ruthless enemies who want to see them crash and burn. Literally, if possible.

And now, they face their greatest danger—exposure.
Someone knows who they are, and is threatening to expose their secret. If they can’t stop their unknown assailant and hide their tracks, staying alive may be the least of their concerns. And staying sane may be impossible.

Genre: Sci Fi Thriller, Urban Fantasy
Content/Theme(s): Hackers, Psychics, Suspense, Dystopian, Futuristic, Dark Fantasy, Action, Romance, Corporate espionage, Cyberpunk
Release Date: March 13, 2015
Acelette Press
Trailer, Excerpt, Special pricing & More

Special pricing 99¢ until March 28, 2015
Purchase link(s):
 Amazon   Smashwords   iTunes   Kobo   B&N

“Excuse me.” One of the mini-groups—a doctor escorted by what were presumably two Synths—stopped in front of us. It wasn’t easy to tell a Synth just by reading them, at least according to Taylor, but they did tend to be more arrogant and confident than the standard person on the street.

The doctor shifted his weight from one foot to the other, fidgeting as much as the people in the shelter. Neither of his guards looked fazed. “We’re sorry to bother you this evening. Can I get your names?”

His nervousness chipped away more of my composure. The Church representatives were always calm and collected. Was this guy new? That had to be it. He looked about our age—maybe a little older. Thirty? With his dark brown hair and eyes, he might have been cute if he weren’t an immediate threat to our safety and future.

“Taylor Bachner.” Taylor didn’t have to lie about his name. Lies were harder to hide. I’d obliterated our real pasts. Digitally tucked both of us away so well, no one could find the lives we vanished from a decade ago.

One of the guards scanned his handheld, and let the built-in camera snap a shot of Taylor’s face. A few seconds later, the doctor turned to me. If he and the Synth had exchanged any sort of non-verbal signal, I didn’t see it. Then again, I never did. Any exchange between them would be mental.

“Your name, Miss?” the doctor asked.

“Max Knopp.” I paused and furrowed my brow—a conscious action. “Sorry. Lillian Knopp. Everyone calls me Max.” My nervous laugh was as much a part of the act as was the rest of the fumbled name. All to make it look like I hadn’t repeated the same lines more times than I could count.

They ran my info too. The silence between the three made me wonder what kind of thoughts they were exchanging. Was the doctor Psy, or did he just project for the Synths to read? The doctor knelt in front of us. “Fingers.”

Taylor held out his left hand. When they pricked his index finger, his entire frame flinched against my back. A dark red drop of blood welled up, and seeped into the tester.

Smalltalk spilled from the doctor’s lips. It was the same scripted bullshit we went through every raid. As long as he didn’t think we were as well versed in it as he was, we’d be fine. Most people didn’t move from city to city often enough to get caught in more than a few raids, and according to our history, we didn’t either. I always erased our participation in raids from The Church databases.

The doctor processed Taylor’s results then jabbed my finger, asking a string of what sounded like random questions. How long had we been together? Did we have kids? Family? Any relatives locally?

The phony dialog was meant to sound like soothing conversation. In reality, it was a way to see if either of us slipped. Did we give similar responses? Did the Synths detect any lies at the forefront of our thoughts? Did our answers match their records?

We slid through the entire thing without hassle. We always did. One of these days, our luck would run out, but it didn’t look like it would be tonight. My racing pulse was finally starting to calm, and Taylor’s arm—the one still hugging me to his chest—hung more loosely than when the raid started.

One of the Synths nudged the doctor, and shared the display of his handheld. The doctor looked it over, and his feet stopped shifting. His eyebrow rose, and he glanced at the guard, who shrugged.

My heart jumped into my throat, and my pulse must have tripled in seconds. I hated that I couldn’t hide my reaction, but was grateful it didn’t matter. Even if it showed on my face, even though there were technologies to pick up on the change in biorhythms, most Synths were arrogant enough to think they didn’t need to recognize body language. The Church believed Psy and Ee skills trumped others every time.

Which meant Taylor’s thoughts could still get us busted. I knew he could handle it, but it didn’t stop my brain from chanting a small plea that he’d be calmer about the whole thing than I was.

The doctor knelt in front of me again. “I hope I’m not the one breaking the news, but I guess congratulations are in order?”

I swallowed, and my dry throat almost choked in protest. I managed to force out my question in an almost even tone. “For?”

The doctor’s nervous smile was gone, replaced with something far more confident. “You’re pregnant.”

Taylor’s arm bit into my collarbone, when his grip tightened again.

What the hell? That was a completely new tactic for them. What were they up to? I gave him a weak smile and went with the truth, since I wasn’t sure what answer they were looking for. “I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.”
Special pricing 99¢ until March 28, 2015
Purchase link(s):
 Amazon   Smashwords   iTunes   Kobo   B&N

Other titles by Loralie Hall:
Find Loralie Hall at:
Twitter: @aszreal
Loralie Hall Facebook page
Loralie Hall Amazon author page
More Loralie Hall on Cover Reveals
Loralie Hall's alter ego Allyson Lindt on Cover Reveals

Be on the lookout for Loralie Hall's future release(s): Courting Mortality coming April 2015 and Michael's Stand coming late 2015.

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