Catalyst (The Deception Game #1)
Author: Kristin Smith
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publication Date: November 21, 2016
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
In a crumbling, futuristic Las Vegas where the wealthy choose the characteristics of their children like ordering off a drive-thru menu, seventeen-year-old Sienna Preston doesn’t fit in. As a normal girl surrounded by genetically modified teenagers, all of her imperfections are on display. But after the death of her father, everything she’s ever known and loved changes in an instant.
With little skills to help provide for her family, Sienna clings to the two things that come easily—lying and stealing. But not all thief-for-hire assignments go as planned. When a covert exchange of a stolen computer chip is intercepted, she becomes entangled with a corrupt government official who uses her thieving past as leverage, her mother as collateral, and the genetically modified poster boy she’s falling for as bait.
In order to rescue her mother, there may only be one option—joining forces with the Fringe, an extremist group, and their young leader who’s too hot to be bad. Problem is, these revolutionaries aren’t what they seem, and the secrets they’re hiding could be more dangerous than Sienna is prepared for. In the end, she must be willing to risk everything to save the one thing that matters most.
Catalyst is a thrilling adventure of danger, romance, intrigue, and deception.
“You need to learn a little hand-to-hand combat.” Trey puts his fists up by his face. “Always protect your soft spots—your face being numero uno.” He glances at my bandaged arm. “You right-handed?”It’s after breakfast and we’re in the training facility, a large, gym-type room with thick mats, punching bags, weights, and a long wall of mirrors. The smell of sweat and stinky feet assault my nose as I stand across from him on the pile of black mats used to create a “ring”. We have the gym to ourselves. Most likely because everyone else is too smart to work out right after a meal.
I nod and flex my right hand, the one that’s not bandaged.
“You should be fine, then. I’ll take it easy on you.” He grins. “Go ahead—hit me.”
I take a step back and shake my head. “I’m not gonna hit you.”
He moves forward to decrease the distance between us. “I said, hit me.”
I raise my arms as if I’m about to fight him, but all I can think is how much he’s done to help me. How can I punch the man who saved me from the government facility, removed my tracker, and is willing to help rescue my mother?
When he realizes I won’t fight, he lowers his hands. “Remember, Sienna, these men don’t care that you’re a girl. They don’t care how old you are. If given the opportunity, they will hurt you.” His eyes harden. “Now hit me.”
I punch him as hard as I can, and he’s not expecting it. The force of the blow to his face knocks him backward, and my hand throbs from the impact. He looks stunned, especially when a trickle of blood makes its way out of his nose. But then he grins.
Wiping his nose on his shirt, he motions with his hands for me to come closer. “Nicely done. Now, hit me again.”
Surely, he must be crazy. I’m about to walk away, but his words echo in my mind. If given the opportunity, they will hurt you. I can’t give them that opportunity.