Series: Annalise Storm Chronicles
Author: May Freighter
Genre: Dystopian Mystery, Romantic Suspense
It’s the year 2330. At the end of the twenty-second century, the human race has divided into two distinct groups—purebloods and the ‘modded’. Those who are unfortunate enough to be genetically modified are now nothing but servants for their pureblooded masters.
Living in this time, you know your place, and you do not cross the line. So, when a violent death occurs in the Bronze District, Annalise is ordered to take this as her trial run at Divinity PD to prove that she can do the job as a member of the Human Possession Department.
To defy her father’s wish to marry her off, and keep her Chief happy, she is determined to solve this murder by any means necessary—even if it means going to districts she has only read about in textbooks and fighting her forbidden feelings for her servant.
With internal battles, dirty politics, and sinister secrets, just how exactly will Annalise solve her Case: 0? And more importantly, will she live to see her next one?
CCTV March Street CAM, Bronze District, 22:47, March 10, 2330.
The queue outside of the Landon’s bar was nothing new. Chatter filled the air as people conversed about their day. A well-built bouncer stopped a man in his mid-thirties from entering and scanned him with his genetic scanner. Satisfied with the scan’s results, he gave a curt nod and let the man through.
A young brunette bypassed the people who waited in line. Her purposeful stride separated her from the rest as she sashayed her hips. Gasps and quiet murmurs spilt from the bystanders. Ignoring them, she drew closer to the door.
The bouncer glowered at her. “Get out of here beauty. No. Freaks. Allowed.”
Her top lip curled into a sneer, and she spat the words out. “Beauty? Scan me, idiot.”
He pointed the scanner at her chest. The result was displayed on screen in neon-blue text ‘PUREBLOOD, No modifications detected.’ Grumbling under his breath, he stepped away from the door, permitting her entry. The woman flicked her hair over her shoulder and sauntered inside.
CCTV Landon’s CAM 1, 22:52, March 10, 2330.
The patrons eyed her with suspicion. Whispers and exclamations of disgust filled the air as she walked past the tables to the bar in desperate need of a drink. Her hands balled into fists at her sides, and she sat on the hovering stool and waited.
The bartender edged closer. “What would you like?”
“Something strong.” She sighed, and her shoulders slumped. She was a pureblood who resembled an alabaster. Purebloods were rarely beautiful, and she was that rarity. She wanted to claw at her face when she saw it in the mirror. Every person in Silver looked at her as if she was a servant or worse—a worker.
“Just look at her! Someone in her family must have fucked their servant at some point.”
“I bet she went to the Black District to get something done,” someone else added.
Since the Modded Wars, when purebloods won a fifteen-year-long battle for their lives against the genetically modified humans, things had changed. The purebloods gave them a choice: live in servitude or perish.
The modded were then labelled and divided into four distinct genetic groups: beast, flare, alabaster and basilisk—each with special traits to benefit the purebloods. Something hard hit the back of the brunette’s head, and her hand shot to the affected area. Blood tinged her fingers.
“I don’t know how you’ve fooled the scanner, but you’re not welcome here, alabaster!” a woman said, rising from her stool.
Anger bubbled within the brunette. She was sick and tired of being treated as a modded freak, like one of them. Why couldn’t these people believe what the scanner told them and just leave her be? Scanners couldn’t be fooled. They were fine-tuned by the best technicians in the Divinity Police Department. Her agitation became ire and her body tingled with an unfamiliar sensation as if something climbed in, pushing her out of her shell. She bent over, clinging to her burning chest. The whispers in the bar morphed into shouts of outrage. More people hurled curses at her, but she no longer cared. She reached for the counter. Her hand slipped, and she tumbled off the stool. Her knees hit the ground hard and her conscience faded—all control gone… She faced the patrons as her eyes rolled back into her head. Within seconds, she launched forwards. Her hands landed in a woman’s mop of bleached blonde hair, and she yanked chunks of it out. A deafening scream filled the bar. Eyes of the onlookers bulged, watching the events unfold.
“The alabaster is possessed!” a man in the back shouted.
A few patrons rushed towards her. Others shrieked and ran for the exits or remained seated—too shocked to move.
Strong, masculine hands grasped the brunette’s waist, tearing her off the bleeding blonde. With a wild expression, she kicked and bit anything close enough. A loud wail of frustration escaped her. She turned and plunged her nails into the man’s eyes, bursting the whites in their sockets. His face contorted with agony. Clear liquid ran down her fingers as he blindly aimed for her neck. The crowd of men surrounded her. A moment later, their bodies swallowed her small frame whole.
It’s official, Devlin is Annalise’s new partner. He’s charming, caring—a perfect gentleman who caters to her every need. That is until he starts to mix work with pleasure to convince her to marry him as per agreement with her father.
With her servant, Mavel, gone from her side, the cracks in the wall she created around her begin to come undone. To take her mind off the torment her heart is going through, she takes on another possession case in her old school, Montgomery Institute. But, what starts off as a simple case full of bad memories twists into a web of deception and lies involving everyone she cares about.
“Chief, is this some kind of a joke?” Annalise demanded, turning red with anger. “He can’t become my partner. He works for Falcon!”
Chief Sunderland reclined in his seat and released a heavy sigh. “Mr Madoc has a great track record in solving cases. You can take this offer or leave it. Remember, Storm, you can’t work without a partner.”
Devlin—the man she thought was killed during their escape from the Falcon facility in the Silver District—stood next to her with a beautiful smile on his face. He remained the same, strikingly handsome with majestic blue eyes that could keep any man or woman tethered on a spot for hours. She scanned his pristine charcoal suit, taking in his strong, broad shoulders and slim waistline. If she did follow her father’s wishes, she would be engaged to him and planning their wedding. She pushed the thought aside. He is part of the reason why Mavel is on the run.
“After what happened, I’ve been demoted,” Devlin explained. “I chose this department because there was an opening.”
She scowled at him. “Do you expect me to believe that?”
“Believe what you will, Annalise. Falcon has no use for people who help prisoners escape,” Devlin added.
That left her speechless. He did help them get out with their lives. After that, Rios and Jamen were given the location of the facility by Mavel. They raided the place, but everything was gone. There wasn’t a smidgen of DNA that indicated anyone had occupied the damn building. With that hiccup, she was made to look like a fool, and the physical damage she took pushed more suspicion onto Mavel over the past three weeks. She had heard the rumours whispered behind her back. People started believing that Mavel hurt her, and she was trying to cover it up by shifting the blame. Lowering her head, she looked at the ground. Mavel was no longer her beast. The moment he wrote that letter, he had severed ties with her. Even though it was only yesterday that she had read it, it felt like a thousand years had passed.
“So, what’s your decision? Are you going to accept him as your partner?” Chief asked, pushing a digital tablet across the table towards her. “I need an answer, Storm, because I have a case ready if you do.”
Sparing one last glance at Devlin, she grabbed the tablet. “What is it?”
Chief smirked. “We received a report this morning. A possessed basilisk was trying to attack one of the security officers at the Montgomery Institute for young girls. I chose you for this case as it’s a school listed in your file. It should be easier for you to investigate.”
Annalise cringed at the memory of the school she had spent most of her childhood and teenage years attending. The relentless ass-kissing she received from her teachers drove her mad. Each one wanted her to put in a good word with her father. She was planning to do that until the day she overheard her Physics and Mathematics teachers talking about her in the courtyard. She was nothing more than a pawn to them in the progression of their careers. Ever since, she avoided making any friends at school and spent most of her time with Mavel.
“Storm? For God’s sake, say something,” Chief huffed, smacking his palm on his desk to draw her attention.
Her head snapped up, and she forced a smile. “I’ll take the case, sir.”
“And him?” Chief nodded to Devlin who raised a brow when she glanced his way.
“I’ll take him as my partner as well, temporarily. In the meantime, I’m going to search for a new servant.”
Devlin offered her his hand. “It will be a pleasure to work with you.”
She shook his hand, feeling a light electrical current brushing her skin when they touched. Jerking her hand away, she marched out of the Chief’s office. Maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea. While they worked together, she could press him to talk about the Falcon Group and find out more about them and how they operated. This could be an opportunity, and she had to take it. After all, he was only one man—a man who occasionally made her heart race.
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About the Author:
May Freighter is an internationally bestselling author from Dublin, Ireland. She writes Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and Sci-Fi mysteries that will keep you entertained, mystified, and hopefully craving more. Her only pets are cacti. They’re the only things that survived. It may be too dangerous to entrust her with an animal while she’s engrossed in writing.
On sunny, rainy, and overcast days, she spends her time with her fictional friends, putting them through dangerous adventures while wishing them the best of luck. Her hobbies are photography, drawing, and plotting different ways of a characters’ demise.