Jessica Khoury (www.jessicakhoury.com) holds a B.A. in English from Toccoa Falls College. When not writing, she spends her time on the soccer pitch or traveling the world. She lives in Greenville, SC, with her husband and two dogs. Jessica is also the author of Origin.
Excerpt from book:
***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof.***
Copyright © 2014 by Jessica Khoury
O N E
“Skin Island,” Sophie said for what felt like the hundredth time. “I know what I’m talking about. It’s called Skin Island, and it has to be nearby. Please, can’t you just check again?”
She’d spent the last twenty hours in airports and cramped planes, nearly missing her second connecting flight after getting lost in the Tokyo airport and almost arrested for having a pair of scissors in her backpack, and she felt she would collapse if she took another step. She planted her hands on the travel agent’s counter and refused to move until she had an answer. Behind her, the lobby of A.B. Won Pat International Airport basked in the afternoon sunlight that streamed through tall glass windows. Sunburned tourists and TSA agents navigated through the network of cordoned-off aisles and piles of suitcases, oblivious to the turmoil churning in Sophie’s stomach. Her flight to Guam had landed an hour earlier, but she still felt as if she were caught in a wave of turbulence.
The travel agent’s eyelid twitched. Sophie could tell that the man was nearing the edge of his patience. “I’ve checked every list, every database I know of, young lady. There simply is no Skin Island. It doesn’t exist.”
He spoke with a tone of irritated finality, and leaned back in his chair and folded his arms over his chest. Sophie guessed the man was in his fifties from his balding scalp and drooping jawline. He had sweat stains under his arms and smelled of garlic.
“I can pay you, I swear. I know it exists! My mom’s worked there for years.”
“You could hand over the key to the national treasury, wouldn’t make a bit of difference. It’s not there, I’m telling you! I’m sorry, miss, but I can’t produce an island out of thin air.”
She drew a deep breath to steady herself, feeling like a torn flag whipped and battered by a hurricane. “If you can’t help me, then who can? There must be someone local who knows the surrounding area.”
“I’m telling you, there’s no—”
“Look . . .” She glanced at his name tag. “Randy. I did not come halfway around the world just for kicks. Give me something to go on—a name, a map, a fricking rental boat so I can go find the place myself.” She glanced over the counter, at the desk he was sitting at, and spied a laminated map folded up and tucked between a mug of pens and a stapler. Before he could react, she lunged across the counter and snatched it, dancing backward when he tried to grab it.
The Mariana Islands
A death-defying tropical adventure delivers a frightening message about dabbling with creation from the talented author of Origin.
On a remote island in the Pacific, Corpus scientists have taken test tube embryos and given them life. These beingsthe Vitroshave knowledge and abilities most humans can only dream of. But they also have one enormous flaw.
Sophie Crue is determined to get to Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. She enlists hunky charter pilot Jim Julien to take her there. But once on the island, Sophie and Jim encounter more than they bargained for, including a charming, brilliant Vitro named Nicholas and an innocent, newly awoken one named Lux.
In a race for their lives, Sophie and Jim are about to discover what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach.