Hit by Delilah S. Dawson

Hit

byDelilah S. Dawson

Paperback | March 8, 2016

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In order to save her mother, a teen is forced to become an indentured assassin in this sizzling “movie ready” (Kirkus Reviews) dystopian thriller.

No one reads the fine print.

The good news is that the USA is finally out of debt. The bad news is that it was bought out by Valor National Bank, and debtors are the new big game, thanks to a tricky little clause hidden deep in the fine print of a credit card application. Now, after a swift and silent takeover that leaves 9-1-1 calls going through to Valor voicemail, they’re unleashing a wave of anarchy across the country.

Patsy didn’t have much of a choice. When the suits showed up at her house threatening to kill her mother then and there for outstanding debt unless Patsy agreed to be an indentured assassin, what was she supposed to do? Let her own mother die?

Patsy is forced to take on a five-day mission to complete a hit list of ten names. Each name on Patsy’s list has only three choices: pay the debt on the spot, agree to work as a bounty hunter, or die. And Patsy has to kill them personally, or else her mom takes a bullet of her own. Since yarn bombing is the only anarchy in Patsy’s past, she’s horrified and overwhelmed, especially as she realizes that most of the ten people on her list aren’t strangers. Things get even more complicated when a moment of mercy lands her with a sidekick: a hot rich kid named Wyatt whose brother is the last name on Patsy’s list. The two share an intense chemistry even as every tick of the clock draws them closer to an impossible choice.

An absorbing, frightening glimpse at a reality that is eerily just steps away from ours—Hit is a taut, suspenseful thriller that absolutely mesmerizes from start to finish.
Delialh S. Dawnson is an American author whose works have been published since 2012. She writes fantasy under the pen name Lila Bowen and erotica as Ava Lovelace. She is the writer of Star Wars: Phasma and two Star Wars short stories "The Perfect Weapon" and "Scorched". Her work also includes the Blud series, novels of steampunk parano...
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Title:HitFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:352 pages, 8.25 X 5.5 X 0.8 inShipping dimensions:352 pages, 8.25 X 5.5 X 0.8 inPublished:March 8, 2016Publisher:Simon PulseLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1481423401

ISBN - 13:9781481423403

Appropriate for ages: 14

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Read from the Book

Hit 1. Robert Beard The carefully folded strip of paper in my lucky locket reads I want to survive the next five days. I kiss it and tuck it under the tight neck of my long-sleeved black tee with the solemn reverence my mom would give her rosary. Or, in the last six months, her Vicodin. I sit on the cramped cot in the back of a refurbished mail truck, surrounded by band posters and crocheted afghans and half-finished knitting projects, trying to pull myself together. I can’t stop shaking. At first, the truck smelled like welded metal and fresh paint. I stuck prints from my bedroom at home on the walls, draped my favorite quilt on the cot, and arranged my vintage pillows with a few stuffed turtles from my collection. I even tried hanging up some embroidery hoops, but they kept falling down. For a couple hours, I ­pretended that it was a dorm room or my first apartment, the freedom and comfort I’ve always craved. But the illusion didn’t last. Now, with fast-food bags crumpled up under the cot and a digital clock ticking down the minutes to failure, it reeks of hot garbage and desperation. It’s one step away from being in prison. Or worse. I’m already running out of time on my first assignment, with only thirty minutes left before the twelve-hour limit. I’ve been sitting here in my truck, waiting for . . . I don’t know what. For my feelings to coalesce, for some sort of determination to set in. But it never has. I just feel empty and thin and shaky, as flimsy as the fast-food salad I could barely choke down for lunch. I knew I should have gone for fries. Fries would have given me strength. I swallow again, fighting to force down the lump of fear in my throat. I’ve got a job to do, and not the one at the pizza place where I’ve worked since my fourteenth birthday, slinging pies with my friends Jeremy and Roy to help pay the bills. No, this job is far more disgusting. And dangerous. And I can’t just quit. “Shit,” I mutter, the word echoing off the metal. A few minutes ago, the digital clock set into the dashboard started blinking, which is a noxious reminder to hurry. They’ve given me twelve hours each to complete ten deliveries, so five days to finish out my “shift,” as they called it. But I supposedly get a bonus if I finish early, and I really need that money. And I need to finish. So I need to get started. I squeeze back into the driver’s seat, which is on the wrong side, and pull the US Postal Service hat down over my hair. Dark, wavy chunks straggle out underneath, and I wish it were long enough for a decent ponytail. This hat is required, and it’s possibly the ugliest thing I’ve ever worn—and that’s saying a lot, because I have a closet at home full of sweaters straight out of the eighties. At the last possible moment, I button the scratchy new Postal Service shirt over my long-sleeved tee. It’s stiff and itchy, and I can’t wait to take it off again. Just wearing the thing makes my skin crawl. Looking down, I make sure the top button is buttoned correctly, not blocked in any way, and I slide the small signature machine snugly into the front pocket. The package I’m supposed to deliver is riding shotgun, and I can’t stop staring at the printed card that goes with it. I’ve been reading and rereading it all day, but it barely makes sense and my brain is full of snow like a broken TV and I know I won’t be able to remember it. And it has to be done perfectly, word for word. I’ll be lucky if I can remember how to read. I shove the key in the mail truck’s ignition and turn it, and the engine sputters to life. I drive around the corner to the house I’ve been watching all day and put the truck in park, leaving it running as I step onto the uneven sidewalk. With shaking hands, I lean in and pick up the fruit basket, the plastic crinkling against my fingers and short but wild nails. I painted them alternately bloodred and bright green with dollar signs just last night. It’s not like I could sleep, anyway, what with the unusually large mail truck parked in an abandoned lot and me having a complete breakdown. The nails look a little Christmassy, but it’s really my own personal protest against what I have to do. I’m still me—even if they’re making me do something very, very bad. I walk up between dried-out, overgrown bushes, holding the basket like a shield. This neighborhood used to be really impressive. We pass it all the time on the way to the store. The Preserve, it’s called, like rich people are just milling around in a beautiful, protected oasis, dumb and magnificent as wild animals. I remember wondering how someone could ever earn enough money to have one of these gigantic, brick castles with a filled four-car garage. Now I understand that they couldn’t. Which is why I’m here in the first place. The yard is yellow and dry, half overtaken with clover killed by the first frost just a few nights ago. A small tree has fallen over, surrounded by earth gone cracked and hard without constant watering from the sprinkler system, but no one has done anything about it. I trip on an old garden hose and drop the fruit basket to catch myself painfully on my hands. If it were a real gift basket, I would be scrambling to pick up bruised pears and broken apple jelly jars. As it is, the entire thing is still in one piece, the plastic fruit glued firmly together and the foam now dented. The signature machine is still in my front pocket, and I wonder how much abuse it was designed to take. A lot, probably. For just a moment, I stay on the ground, feeling the burn of cold concrete under my stinging palms, trying to breathe. I want nothing more than to run back to the truck, to run home, to cry, to scream, but I can’t, so I stand and brush myself off. When I pick up the basket, carefully, as if it mattered, I turn it around so the dented part doesn’t show. There are two steps up to the house, steps that aren’t even really necessary. The paint on the door is peeling, the doorbell dangling by wires. I seriously hope this guy is home. Robert Beard, the list says. With a deep breath, I step up to the door and knock. A cold trickle of fear drips down my spine, and I shift from foot to foot in mismatched sneakers, wishing this was just a bad dream and hoping I don’t lose my salad. For a while, nothing happens. I start to worry. What if he’s not here? What if he’s already moved on? What if he’s at work? And for just a second, relief floods me as I imagine skipping back to the truck and driving away to get a milk shake and some fries. But the relief is a silly dream, not real, because that would just make my job harder, if he wasn’t here. It wouldn’t get me off the hook. It would keep me here longer, like a writhing worm stuck right through the heart. If worms even have hearts, which I can’t remember. And I don’t want to find out what happens the moment that blinking clock in the car stops counting down. The curtain to the side of the door twitches to reveal the flash of reading glasses and squinting eyeballs. I smile and hold up the gift basket. Guess what? It’s a package for you, Mr. Beard! He smiles back like a dog slurping over a steak and nods, and the door unlocks and swings open. The hot air inside hits me like a wall. He’s still got enough cash to cover electricity, then. At my much smaller house, we just put on more clothes and live without heat until the pipes are about to freeze, but this dude is living in his own tropical paradise to escape the sharp chill of November, which isn’t sharp at all in Candlewood, Georgia. The man inside is big and disheveled. What once must have been a nice body has migrated to an old dude pregnancy. He looks like he hasn’t left the house in weeks, with patchy stubble and dark blond hair that’s too long for a rich guy. But his robe is the fluffy white kind you get at fancy hotels, and one of his teeth winks gold when he smiles. And something about him is eerily familiar, but I don’t know why. “Robert Beard?” I ask, voice squeaking. “That’s me,” he says. He holds out his hands, and I give him the signing machine. Without reading the message, without pausing for even a single heartbeat, he signs it, sealing his fate for the second time. I don’t realize until he hands it back that I was holding my breath. Exhaling a tiny cloud of fog, I look down to make sure the digital stylus worked. His signature is big and bold with a line underneath it. Bob Beard. And that’s when it clicks. This was the Vice President Bob Beard who fired my mom from her nicer office job downtown. She cried for days and never got over the fact that if she’d been prettier, younger, more put together, he might have let her stay. Behind his closed office door, he told her that being a personal assistant was a job for an optimistic young woman with up-to-date skills, a winning attitude, and a fresh-faced appeal. A go-getter. And my mom knew exactly what that meant, so she boxed up her mementos with what was left of her pride and walked out before she was forced to train her big-boobed twenty-year-old replacement. We started looking for new jobs that afternoon and ate nothing but peanut butter sandwiche

Editorial Reviews

“Dawson’s latest is a raw, gritty near-future dystopian tale with noir undertones . . . Thought-provoking, disturbing, and suspenseful.”