Because of what you are, the Believers will hunt you down.
A storm is brewing on the streets of LA, one that has intensified since a tragic and deadly confrontation claimed an innocent life.
While Gabriel Stewart trains his army of teen psychics to stop Alexander Reese—the obsessed leader of the Believers—the fanatical church becomes more bent on the annihilation of all Indigo and Crystal children. They're silencing the voices of the telepathic hive, one soul at a time, with frightening experiments cruelly executed on vulnerable minds.
When the Believers torture a mysterious homeless boy, Oliver Blue, they brainwash him into betraying his own. The boy becomes a deadly pawn to take Gabriel down. As the fires of chaos burn around him, Gabe is running out of time. He'll need to confront his past—and the man who made him—before the hope of peace for the future is silenced forever.
Indigo Awakening was voted WINNER of Best Paranormal of 2012 by BookTwirps and their followers.
"Dane's first offering in her new series, The Hunted, is sensational. It has strong characters and a wild and intense story, matched only by the emotions it will generate within you. Readers will love this book and eagerly await the next adventure. Fantastic! A keeper."
4.5 Stars (out of 5)
—Romantic Times Book Review Magazine
"Ultra-psychic children with intense blue auras—hence the label "Indigo"—find themselves under attack from a group of fanatics. Galloping suspense turns out to be the main attraction of the book, along with a few romance episodes and some pathos. Seventeen-year-old Rayne Darby has a spunky personality and a pet iguana that adds some spice to the narrative. The Indigo children also stand out as interesting characters. Exciting."
"It's no secret that I am a fan of Jordan Dane's. In the Arms of Stone Angels was one of the first books I reviewed on Book Twirps and was one of my top picks of 2011. When I found out about Indigo Awakening, I immediately knew I had to read it. These Indigo kids are super heroes in the making and if there's anything I love, it's people with super powers. Indigo Awakening never falters, nor did it fall into the typical super-hero formula of doom. This is a fast-paced read and the characters are great. I can't wait to read more in this series. I will patiently await the next book—or at least pretend to be patient." Grade A
—O'Dell at Book Twirps
"Indigo Awakening is the incredibly imaginative and immensely entertaining first book in author Jordan Dane's new The Hunted series. A fascinating and somewhat chilling story with a unique premise in young adult fiction, this book will bring readers into a deadly world filled with action, suspense and a touch of mystery. With its quick pace, its dark and alluring premise, its edgy and sarcastic heroine, its charming and mysterious hero, Indigo Awakening is an exciting and compelling read that will keep readers on the edge of their seat throughout and as they await just what comes next in the sequel."
—Rachel Clarke at [Fikt]Shun Book Reviews (read the full review)
Caila wasn't a stranger to darkness. At sixteen she'd spent much of her life sinking into it, forced into the shelter and anonymity of shadows by her own choosing. That realization hit her as she stared at a deserted old warehouse from a murky alley across the street, believing that she'd be better off inside than where she was. Brick walls were scrawled with veins of graffiti and glutted by neglect. Light from the street reflected off the jagged glass of busted windows and made the pitch black broken parts look as if the building had eyes. A sane person wouldn't think about going inside—alone—but Caila didn't have a choice.
It was the third location she'd tried tonight, her last shot at finding Oliver Blue. She shut her eyes and took a deep breath. Please let this be it, she prayed. If she came up empty, she had nowhere else to go. Her life had no upside and she had no one else to blame.
Her last hope was Oliver.
Before she cut across the street, she looked over her shoulder and listened hard. She'd been careful and felt certain that no one followed her, but it never hurt to be positive. Caila stuck to the shadows, even if it meant she had to take the long way around to cross the street. She took the precaution as much for Oliver as she did for her.
The guy was a loner. That's why few people knew anything about him. She'd met him only once through her friend, Zack, who'd said that if anything bad happened, Oliver would be a guy she could trust. Zack never said why he had such faith in him, but he'd been adamant.
Because she trusted her friend, Caila had listened when he told her where to look for the guy, but the one time she'd met Oliver, he put her on edge. He didn't say much and barely made eye contact. He looked irritated that Zack had brought her. After her friend pulled him aside to explain, Oliver nudged his chin and mumbled the only words he'd directed at her. 'Zack's a good guy to watch your back. Hope you do the same for him.' Oliver left without saying another word. At the time she never thought she'd see him again.
If she wasn't desperate, she wouldn't have come.
It took Caila time to check every door and the loading bay for a way into the abandoned building. Everything on street level was locked tight. She almost gave up until she spotted a fire escape that led to the upper floors and the rooftop. Climbing those steps would make her a target for anyone watching the warehouse. If she found a way in, she wouldn't have much of an escape if she needed one and metal stairs made noise. She debated her options, but the fact was that she didn't have any. She hadn't risked searching for Oliver to give up now.
Caila climbed the rusted steps and didn't look down. She kept her hands on the filthy railing, even in the spots riddled with gross chewing gum. With a bird's eye view, she took comfort that she hadn't been followed and felt safe enough to crouch on a step in the dark. She reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out her last can of Cheese Whiz and squirted it in her mouth. She had to take a hit to keep her stomach from growling. After she emptied the can, she left it on the fire escape and got moving.
Zack had always kept her supplied with the stuff, that and spray whipped cream. Cheese Whiz reminded her of him. She found Zack when she needed someone to look after her, but memories of him were blasted out of her skull by an absurd habit she had almost no control over. Whenever she got nervous, random Disney songs ear wormed her. An outburst from the French Chef in the Little Mermaid erupted in her head like a brain itch.
Whoever had control of the Disney MP3 in her brain took weird pleasure in torturing her with a music doodle when she least expected it. The habit had come from a distant memory, something she should have remembered as important, but couldn't quite recall. It usually signaled something bad, but not always. Although her grumbling stomach could've conjured a chef, Caila didn't feel lucky that's all it was.
After she found a metal door with a broken lock on the second level, she stepped into the crushing silence of the abandoned warehouse—and even the French Chef quit singing. A tingle raced across her skin like the chilling touch of a cold hand. Caila wasn't alone. Someone watched her. Her gift of second sight had sent her a warning, a rippling sensation that had started in her chest and raced down her arms. Being psychic, she relied on her instincts for everything. The impulse to run grew stronger, but she fought the push.
Her promise to Zack made her stay.
It took time for her eyes to adjust to the darkness as she searched every corner for anything that moved. The oppressive silence felt as if no one was there, but she knew better. Her bad case of warning tingles had intensified and felt as if jolts of electricity shuddered through her. Even though her throat felt parched and raw, she took the risk of calling out his name.
"Oliver? It's me, Caila. Zack's friend."
She winced at the sound of her own voice. It echoed in the belly of the old warehouse and made her feel stupid for yelling like an idiot. Caila had never been brave. It was why she had come.
"Oliver?" She wrung her hands and kept moving with her eyes alert. "Please...I need to talk to you."
She crept between old wooden crates and rusted barrels, peering through the darkness for any signs of life—or any reason to run. She got both when a guy's low voice came from nowhere.
"This better be important."
Caila stopped dead still, with her heart throttling in the red zone. She fought hard not to let it show that he almost gave her a heart attack. When she turned, she spotted Oliver staring down, crouched low in the metal rafters above her. She only saw part of his face in the dim light coming from a cracked window.
"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't." She returned his glare, but backed off on the attitude when she remembered why she'd come.
"Anyone follow you?"
"No, I was real careful...and I didn't see anybody below when I climbed those stairs."
He stared at her and didn't say anything for a long time. Caila didn't move an inch—or breathe.
"Why are you here?"
"It's Zack. He's missing. I haven't seen him in three days."
"Maybe he doesn't want to be found."
"Not Zack." She crossed her arms. "He wouldn't do that to me, unless something bad happened."
Oliver glared at her for another strained moment before he finally stood.
"I'm coming down. Stay put and don't move."
When the guy vanished into the shadows, she listened for him, but heard nothing. Not a creak of a floorboard or a scuff of a boot. He simply reappeared from behind a pile of tossed empty boxes. Dressed in worn jeans with holes in the knees and a black T-shirt with a bloody yellow smiley face on the chest, Oliver walked toward her with his eyes fixed on her.
That's what she'd remembered most about him. His eyes were smoky green, intense and unforgettable. When they first met, she wanted him to look at her, but whenever he did, she felt raw and exposed as if he knew all her sins. Seeing him in the shadows magnified that feeling.
He was bigger than she recalled and towered over her with his broad shoulders and long legs. His scruffy dark hair and bristled chin made him look older, even though Zack had told her that he was nineteen. He had a distinctive upward turn to the corners of his lips that made her believe smiling had once been easy for him, but an unshakable sadness in his eyes weighed heavier now.
In another life she could picture him being a good son, tolerable brother, and anyone's trusted best friend, but too much had happened to change him. Most girls would go bat shit if he even looked at them—normal girls who lived in an alternative universe light years away who wouldn't recognize the walking wounded on sight like she did. She couldn't afford to let a guy like him get to her.
Letting her guard down made her vulnerable, especially now that Zack was gone. She hadn't lived on the streets of LA that long. Without Zack to run interference, she didn't know if she liked being alone with Oliver.
He kept his distance and said, "Tell me everything."
Caila stared at the blood splattered smiley face on Oliver's T-shirt as he crossed his arms and she thought of Zack. The tattered fringes of her life frayed apart as hunger and exhaustion from her sleepless nights made her feel light headed. She'd have one chance to convince Oliver to help her.
Running on empty, she had nothing left—only the truth.
© Jordan Dane
Harlequin Teen, November 2013, ISBN: 978-0373210930