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Rave New World
an SAT/ACT vocabulary novel

Chapter 1

Part 2

The Tamlando Detention Center swarmed with addicts and enforcement officers. Amid the bustle, Jaden spotted his fastidious team leader, Kim Li, talking to Ally’s parents. Jaden sometimes wondered what Kim, an imperious woman he’d never seen without thick lipstick and even thicker eye shadow, would look like without all that frightening makeup. Even though she was a good six or seven years older than he was, she had a certain pulchritude. Her legs had serious pulchritude. Or something like that.

Suddenly he became cognizant that his hat was still in his jeans pocket. Without it, even the dreads couldn’t completely obscure the kidney-shaped chrome plate that arched from his temple to the b ase of his skull. The metal implant might as well be a “Prowling Splitter” sign. Well, too late to do anything about it now. He’d just have to deposit Ally with her parents and bolt before anyone recognized him.

When Kim saw Jaden, she flashed him a grin. Her teeth were perfectly straight and blindingly white. “Jaden! What quick work. I was just telling the Fayres how lucky they were to have such an adept splitter assigned to their daughter.”

Kim slipped her arm through his. Jaden shifted uncomfortably. It wasn’t the aggrandizement he minded; it was Kim’s familiarity. He wasn’t a clingy kind of person, and her intimacy sort of gave him the creeps, as hot as she was. This was his boss, after all.

“He’s one of the best in the business. Just got approval to apply to the Ripper Squad, even,” she boasted.

Ally stood meekly next to her father.

“She does seem a bit more sedate,” Mr. Fayre agreed, eyeing his taciturn daughter.

Kim continued with even more luminous endorsements, but Jaden tuned them out, too busy scanning the hallway. He’d put his old life behind him, and he didn’t need any reminders sneaking up on him.

“Uh, I really should be go—.”

A hand clasped his shoulder from behind. “Amsterdam? Amsterdam-Ass Jaden? Well roll me in nuts and call me a frozen banana. It really is you!”

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