Chapter One

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"Slow down! You'll kill us both!" Brier cried, her fingers pressed deep into her sister's sides

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"Slow down! You'll kill us both!" Brier cried, her fingers pressed deep into her sister's sides.

Adrenaline spiked Harlow Morgan's blood as she sped through London's darkened streets. Several feet off the ground, she soared forward on her dirty green hover-cycle. Wind thrashed through her thick red hair and stung her skin. The engine and her heart raced in time. With her sister gripping from behind, she shifted her body from side to side, swerving past the steam cars littering the cobblestone thoroughfare.

Flanked by the mammoth, East Quadrant industrial buildings and a sea of umbrella wielding pedestrians, the streets narrowed, and the gaps between cars thinned out. Wafts of kerosene drifted from gas-lamps lighting the obstacle course ahead, overpowering the scent of oncoming rain. Each turn hailed a chorus of beeps and honks, praising her maneuvering skills.

Ahead, a brick red steam bus with the words war behind us, reason ahead painted white on its side, angled to turn. Harlow leaned over her handlebars, tucked her legs in tight, and squeezed through the closing gap between the bus and a three-wheeled carriage.

"Har!" Brier shouted, "You nearly hit that one!"

Harlow glanced back at the steam bus, the space between its steam puffing engine and the carriage completely gone. "Did not. Had plenty of room."

"Had plenty of—Any closer and I'd lose my head under their wheels!"

"Only if you fell off. Hold on, Thorns. Next corner's real tricky."

Brier's grasp constricted around Harlow's waist. "Don't call me that, especially when my life's in your hands and--"

Harlow twisted the accelerator, drowning out Brier's complaints with the roar of the rear fan. Sheer exhilaration sent chills down her spine. She checked her speedometer one more time.

Faster. Got to go faster.

She waited until the last possible second, tapped the brakes enough to make the turn, and banked right. The momentum carried the back of the bike off to the left. She twisted the handle bars quickly, stabilizing the craft before veering out of control.

But victory was short-lived. Nearing the end of the street, a massive brick building loomed seconds away. Her room for error on the next corner dropped to nothing. This was it. Time to see what she was made of. She squinted behind the glass of her scarlet lensed riding goggles. Determined. Focused.

"Har?" Brier's finger shook beside Harlow's cheek. "Har!"

"I see it."

Their only escape, a small street hidden amid the buildings, seemed to jet out of nowhere. Within feet of slamming into the brick wall, Harlow dropped her body to the left and forced Brier down with her. The bike's underbelly shot up nearly parallel to the buildings. Swinging around the corner, she was met with a group of children rolling metal hoops through puddles. Her heart pounded. She fought against gravity to twist the bike upright. Air from the fans collided once more with the gravel below, lifting her above their gasping heads.

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