David B. Coe

February 2022 $15.95
ISBN: 978-1-61026-174-6

Radiants, Book 2

Our PriceUS$15.95
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Drowse is homeless, a runaway. A Radiant. Together with her "family," Bat and Mako, she lives in the subway tunnels below New York City, surviving on the money they earn selling stolen goods.

But when the discovery of a murder victim's wallet exposes her to other Radiants and the schemes of the most powerful financiers in the world—her new life is threatened. Pursued by assassins and wanted by the police, she can run, or she can fight back.

And she's not about to run. Until now, she's had no idea just how powerful she might be.

Neither have the people who want her dead.

Author Bio: David B. Coe is the award-winning author of more than two dozen novels and as many short stories, spanning historical fiction, epic fantasy, contemporary fantasy, and the occasional media tie-in. His novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages. He lives with his family in the mountains of Appalachia.

"Loved INVASIVES! Each book in the series is better than the last!"

—Faith Hunter, NYT and USA Today bestselling author of the Jane Yellowrock series

"[RADIANTS is] controversial, nail-biting, edge-of-my-seat excitement.”

—Faith Hunter, NYT and USA Today bestselling author of the Jane Yellowrock series

"As gripping as its ideas about selfhood, identity, and privacy are urgent, RADIANTS is a psychological thrill-ride through dangers physical and conceptual. Serious fun.”

—AJ Hartley, NY Times bestselling author of IMPERVIOUS and STEEPLEJACK

"A thoroughly engrossing and involving entry that no series fan will want to miss.”

Kirkus Reviews onDEAD MAN’S REACH

A PLUNDER OF SOULS and DEAD MAN’S REACH named one of the best books of their year by

"Gathers momentum like a runaway moving van . . . absorbing . . . impressive.”

Publisher’s Weekly on RULES OF ASCENSION

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Chapter 1

Rob Teller stepped around a sidewalk grate and the warm, sour air rising from it, and glanced back through dancing vapor. The finance district streets were deserted except for a river of cabs, passengers silhouetted by the headlights of the car behind. He considered trying to hail one, but he would have had to stop walking. Not a good idea. He slowed near a subway entrance, but alarm bells pealed in his mind at the thought of going underground.

Instead, he continued north. There’d be more people on Broadway. A memory flashed through his thoughts: a documentary he’d seen on herd life in Africa, animals flocking for safety. That was him. Alone on a concrete savannah, exposed, watched, hunted.

One lousy sale, and now crap rained down on him. He hadn’t thrown a lot of money at it; he hadn’t been reckless. Just enough to make a little extra, to take Carol and the kids to Orlando in February. The big boys had him trading commodities—wheat, corn, even Nigerian millet, for Christ’s sake. He didn’t know shit about commodities, at least not compared to some of the other guys. But they were doing well, making a couple of million every few months. Where was the harm in dropping a sale for himself—in Carol’s name, of course—and piggy-backing on their volume? Strictly small-time. Enough for that trip and no more. Sales guys did stuff like that all the time.

He fished his phone from his jacket pocket, glanced up again in time to avoid walking into the edge of a scaffold set up over the sidewalk. Painted plywood covered the walls of the building beside him; icy water dripped from corrugated metal overhead.

"Call Carol,” he said, keeping his voice low.

He glanced over his shoulder. Again. Did he hear footsteps? A minute before he’d felt exposed; now he was in a cage of wood and steel, bars of scaffolding between him and the street.

Two rings. "Hello?”

"It’s me.”

"Rob? You sound strange. Where are you?”

"I’m still downtown. I’m on my way—”

"You had a call tonight. Doug somebody? Did he reach you?”

Rob’s mouth went dry and a shiver made him lurch mid-stride, as if he’d been doused with a bucket of snow. Crap. They’d called his home. Were they watching the house? "What did he say?”

"Nothing, really. He asked for you and when I told him you were still at work—”

"Don’t answer the phone again,” he said, the words coming in a rush. "Let the machine pick up. Turn off the lights and make it seem like no one’s home.”

"What?” She sounded confused, a nervous laugh in her voice.

Those were definitely steps behind him, and something else. Three parts. Whu-pa-thpt! Like someone was bouncing a goddamned tennis ball. Whu-pa-thpt!Not bouncing, throwing. Skipping it off the sidewalk, into the wall, and then back to the hand. Again and again. Whu-pa-thpt! Whu-pa-thpt!

Rob resisted the urge to peer back, sped up a little more. He turned onto Liberty Street.


"I’ve gotta go.”

"You’re scaring me. What’s going—”

He ended the call. Maybe the subway would be smart after all. A different herd, but safety in numbers nevertheless. The Fulton Street station was a few blocks north and east. First, though, he had to escape this construction zone. Just to the other side of the street. Anything to get out of this fucking plywood-and-metal box. But traffic flowed in every lane, hemming him in.

The bouncing ball closed on him, and up ahead, at the corner of Broadway and Liberty, someone leaned against the crosswalk signal pole.

Rob stopped, muttered a curse. The Bluetooth caught it. "Name not recognized. Please try again.”

He started back the way he’d come. After a few steps, he ducked under the scaffolding. A cab whipped by, the driver leaning on his horn. Rob ran. Tires screeched, more horns blared. Somehow he made it to the north side of the street.

Without breaking stride, he turned up a narrow lane. If he remembered right, there was another entrance to the Fulton Street stop. He didn’t hear the bouncing ball anymore. For that matter, he didn’t hear horns or screeching tires, either. Maybe they hadn’t followed.

Within two seconds that hope evaporated. He skidded to a stop, shoes scraping on pavement. A figure stepped into the alley, blocking his exit. Light spilled into the lane from the streetlamp behind him, but otherwise all was in shadow.

He backed away, turned, halted again, his heart hammering. The kid standing in front of him, tossing a rubber ball and snatching it out of the air, couldn’t have been more than twenty years old. Tall, lean, hair so blond it looked white in the phosphorescent glow of the streetlight. He wore jeans, a t-shirt and leather jacket, tennis sneakers, as if the cold couldn’t touch him. Seeing him, Rob relaxed enough to think of ways he might put this would-be mugger on the ground. A punch or a kick, or one of the other moves he’d picked up over the years. He knew how to take care of himself.

"Who are you?” he asked, pleased by how calm he sounded.

The kid threw his ball to the side so that it bounced off the pavement and then the alley wall, before flying back to his hand. Whu-pa-thpt! He didn’t have to reach for it, and his eyes never left Rob’s face.

Rob stepped back, fear creeping over him again.

"Who are you?” No calm this time. Panic, petulance; he sounded like a frightened boy. "What do you want?”

Whu-pa-thpt! The kid’s gaze didn’t waver. How the hell did he do that?

"You pissed some people off, Rob,” the kid said. "You should have been more careful.”

"I... I’m sorry. You’re right. But it’s not too late! I can give them whatever—”

The kid shook his head. "That’s not an option. There are no options.” He flashed a smile. "No pun intended.”

Options. It took him a second. Who was this? How much did he know?

The kid slipped the ball into his jacket pocket. As he did, his cheeks flushed and a trickle of sweat ran down his temple, shining with the glow of the streetlight.

Something hammered Rob’s throat, the pain blinding. He clutched his neck with both hands, dropped to his knees, unable to breathe.

The kid hadn’t moved; he still stood twenty feet away. He reached for his back pocket, pulled something free with a whisper of steel and leather, and a gleam of silver. A hunting knife.

Rob struggled to his feet. The kid strode toward him. Rob backed away, only to be grabbed from behind.

He was too weak to break free, too terrified to know what else to try, too hurt to scream. The kid grinned as he drew back his blade hand.

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