One mistake can change everything. Ashlyn Calvert finds that out the hard way when a bad decision leads to the death of her best friend, Noah Anderson.
Only Noah isn’t really gone. Thanks to his parents’ company, the Infinity Division, there is a version of him skipping from one dimension to another, set on revenge for the death of his sister, Kori. When a chance encounter brings him face-to-face with Ash, he’s determined to resist the magnetic pull he’s felt for her time and time again. Because falling for Ash puts his mission in danger.
But there’s more going on in Ash’s alternate universe than either of them knows: a mysterious project called Omega. A conspiracy spanning multiple Earths and revolving around none other than Ash. Its creators would do anything to keep Omega secret…
The Infinity Division series is best enjoyed in order.
Book #1 Infinity
Book #2 Omega
Book #3 Alpha
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About the Author
JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. But at the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food.
Jus is the bestselling author of the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing, as well as the Darker Agency series, and the New Adult series, The Eternal Balance. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.
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Live your life in vivid color.
That was what Kori's — my sister-from-another-world's-mister — new tattoo said. I didn't disapprove. Personally, I loved ink. Had a few of my own, though nothing quite so lame ... No, what pissed me off was the situation it had put us in.
"Get down!" Something tackled me from behind and drove us both into the dirt as a spray of gunfire assaulted the earth at my feet. Dust and debris kicked up, getting into my eyes and mouth. This damn world tasted like sardines.
"Why the hell are they shooting at us, Noah?" My best friend Cade rolled off me and shimmied to a safe spot behind a parked van. Glass shattered above us, a million tiny pieces raining down on our heads like New Year's Eve confetti.
"Why are you asking me?" I growled and ducked as another hail of gunfire came. This time it hit the street sign a few feet away, the echoing ping of metal against metal ringing in my ears. "All I did was ask for a goddamned cheeseburger."
Kori's eyes grew wide and her mouth fell open. It was an expression I was becoming annoyingly accustomed to when it came to me. "On a world that outlawed meat?"
Okay. Maybe the tattoo wasn't one hundredpercent to blame for the situation ...
"How was I supposed to know that?" The guy had just bandaged her new ink and my stomach growled. Loud and unavoidable. All I'd done was ask where I could get a decent burger. You would have thought I'd requested a pound of toddler tartar with a nice big side of kitten sorbet.
Cade shook the glass from his hair, then reached over and carefully pulled a piece from Kori's. His lips tilted upward and it was like the guy forgot about the chaos raging all around us. Gunfire and imminent danger? Pssh. Who cared about that shit? "You need to be more careful." He was talking to me, but he was looking at her.
He was always looking at her.
"He was hungry," came Kori's reply. She, like him, was equally lost, grinning like a jackass as bullets bounced off the building to our left and right and shouting voices in the not so distant area called for our heads. "He doesn't think clearly when he's hungry."
Cade rolled his eyes and his grin widened. "When is he not hungry?" He glanced down at his ankle and relief settled over his features. I knew why. I'd felt it, too. The smallest rise in temperature from the cuff — the thing that allowed us to travel between dimensions — that signaled the main cuff had just been activated. We would be pulled along shortly, ready or not. They were linked together. Where it went, we went — which was fine with me.
We had a score to settle with the asshole wearing it.
"Just have to hold out a few minutes more." Cade and I had slapped on the cuffs and willingly left our home behind to chase after his brother, Dylan, after he killed my sister in an attempt to exact revenge on the people he felt had wronged him — Cade and our father included. He'd promised to wipe her away completely. Erase her from existence by killing every single version of Kori Anderson he could find.
At first we failed. Over and over, I helplessly watched girls who walked, talked, and looked like my sister die. They fell like dominos, one after another in baths of bloody carnage ... until we found her.
"Oh my God. Hurry it up!" Kori tapped her own cuff, the one Dylan snapped around her wrist when he'd found her on her earth, against the side of the van. "Is this thing even on?"
"Yeah. Smart move. Smack it into submission. That's exactly how you treat a highly advanced piece of scientific equipment." Truthfully, though, I'd done the same damn thing a hundred times before. We were so much alike. Cade joked that the universe didn't need two of me, and he was right.
When it came to perfection, obviously two wasn't nearly enough.
With our arrival on her earth, this Kori had learned about the existence of the Infinity Division and inter-dimensional travel, her parents' role in it all, and that she'd had a brother, a Noah of her own, who died before being born. She'd gotten caught up in the whole thing and had been forced to skip with us. She was handling it pretty well, all things considered.
"That's three worlds in a row now." I slid down the side of the van and settled on the ground beside her as the team of Animal-Ingestion officers — seriously, that's what the idiots called themselves — shouted from the other side of the road. "We've only been here, like, what? Six hours? Not enough time for Dylan to do what he needs to do."
What he needs to do.
Kill Kori to punish Cade and my father, the army general who refused his request to skip off and find his dead girlfriend, Ava, and the three council members, Miles Hann, Penny Bloom, and Odette Ferguson, responsible for locking him away and calling for his head.
And people said I had issues.
Footsteps pounded against the pavement, getting closer. A second later, they surrounded us, guns at the ready, and ... nothing. The cuff heated through my threadbare sock and I felt slightly dizzy. It didn't last long, though, and when it was all over the men were gone and we were in the middle of a downpour.
"Well that's fantastic," Cade grumbled and waved his hand.
I spread my arms wide and let out a hoot. "Come on, man. This is way better than desert Wells."
"Now what? Should we start looking for —" Kori glanced down at her wrist, frowning. "No way ..."
He'd just activated the cuff again.
Cade slicked his hair back and flicked water in every direction. "Maybe he ran into trouble? Wouldn't be the first time we got dumped into a hostile territory."
"No way, man. It's the cuff." We knew there was something wrong with it. Dylan had all but admitted it a few skips ago. "Come on." I took off across the street and wedged myself next to a large stone building with a small overhang. It wouldn't block the rain completely, but it gave us a bit of shelter. Cade and Kori did the same. All we could do now was avoid trouble while we waited to be dragged along to whatever new nightmare was out there.
I gathered the edge of my shirt and twisted, ringing out as much rainwater as I could and trying hard to ignore my best friend and my ... sister? Sort-of sister? I had no damn clue what I was supposed to call her. Didn't know what I wanted to call her ... What I did know was that our relationship was complicated.
I found myself oscillating between keeping her out and wanting to let her in. I'd been close to my biological sister. So close that when I lost her, I lost my bearings in the world. In the universe. She'd been my true north. The voice of reason when Cade and I waded into water too deep. We'd both lost a part of our souls when she died, but the healing had begun, and even though I refused to admit it to them, this Kori had a lot to do with it. She was nothing like my sister in most ways but shared a kind of light and a capacity for love and loyalty that was the very essence of who Kori had been.
Her relationship with Cade was off kilter, too. On again, off again, hot and cold. Icy and volcanic. If only the two idiots could see what I saw. Realize they could have something amazing if they'd just get out of their own damn way. They fit together in a way that my sister and Cade never had, and despite the pain of what I'd lost, I was glad for him. For both of them ...
"Jesus Christ. If you two —" With a single blink of my eyes and the slightest churn of my gut, the rain was gone. The sun was out and the sidewalks that seconds ago were dark and deserted, now teemed with late afternoon life.
Kori groaned. "How the hell are we supposed to stop Dylan if he keeps skipping like this?"
"I dunno, but I'm starving. Gonna grab something to eat."
I started in the opposite direction, but only got two steps before Kori jumped out in front of me. "What happens if he skips while we're separated? How will we find you?"
"Kori." Cade came up beside her and took her hand. "We've never stayed glued to each other's side. We'd never be able to track down the Tribunal that way." His jaw tightened. The Tribunal, the three people responsible for handing down his brother's death sentence for trying to misguidedly save his dead girl, were a deeply buried sore spot for Cade. He wanted to save the innocent versions of them, but I knew deep down he was raw over what happened at home. His expression relaxed a little and he smiled. "Plus, all Noah all the time? Even I'm not that big of a saint ..."
I flipped him off and fought a grin. We both knew it was total bullshit. Cade was the only one who'd ever been able to take my shit on a daily basis. The guy had the patience of a saint on Prozac. After a four-day bender ... "If we ever get separated — during or after a skip — we meet at the Doon."
She didn't look convinced, but Cade tugged her aside so I could pass. Sometimes I just needed some space. He understood that. In those first days after we'd left home, the grief, the anger ... it'd been hard on us both. Still was. But we each dealt with it in a different way. Alone time was mine. "If we're still here in a couple of hours, find a place to hunker down for the night. Text me."
I surveyed the streets as I went, looking for the differences. In some worlds it was obvious. Horses instead of cars. Oddly colored pebbles instead of pavement. Other times the differences were less noticeable. Overall diet of the population or the extinction of a species. In one world, cats disappeared somewhere in the eighteenth century and were viewed like unicorns. In another world, business suits were made out of plaid and everyone was required by law to wear their hair cut above the neck. And who the hell could forget meatless world ... shudder.
A woman passed, giving a friendly nod as she held tight to her kid. So far everything looked normal. Still, the rule was to proceed with caution. Observe before speaking or interacting. We'd learned that the hard way when trying to buy coffee with cash on an entirely cash-free world. Cade ordered a bagel and forked over a twenty. The proprietor nearly shit himself.
I spotted a brightly colored phone booth ahead. Back home they'd been gone since the eighties, but once in a while we saw one. I passed it and kept going, ignoring the tattered phone book peeking out from the small shelf below. I wanted to stop, but fought the urge. We had to get the cuff mess figured out. Usually the first thing we did was look ourselves up; it'd come in handy a few times. The last few skips, though, we hadn't bothered. Since it'd become obvious that things were out of whack, Dylan didn't seem to be going after his normal targets. Lately we just jumped in and kept focused on trying to track him down. Well, Cade did. I always found time for a side mission.
A flash of dark eyes and long hair swept through my mind and made my heart beat a little bit faster. The image of a phantom, of a hauntingly beautiful girl with an addictive laugh. She was what Cade called a constant. The bullshit name he'd given to the unrelated people who showed up linked in multiple realities. Cade was one of mine: we had yet to find an earth that we both existed on and weren't friends.
Ash was the other.
When I first saw her, the idea intrigued me. I'd never been lacking in the female attention department, but I'd also never gotten serious with anyone. I tended to sabotage things when they started getting heavy. There was no way any girl out there would put up with me long-term. I was too abrasive. Too rough. I had plans to go to med school and had no interest in tying myself to someone in any kind of monogamous capacity. There was no reason to get invested in something that had no chance and I was fine with that — until I started seeing multiple versions of myself with her.
With each new skip I'd looked for her. Night after night I'd slip away from Cade and search. When she was there, I sought her out even if I only got a quick glimpse of the life she led. It continued for months, becoming almost as much of an obsession as making Dylan pay for what he'd done to my sister. But then I started to wonder what the hell I was doing. What good did finding her, over and over, do? Spying on her like some freaking pervert. One day Cade and Iwould be going home. And Ash Calvert didn't exist there as far as I knew.
The first time I found her in a world I hadn't existed on, I approached her. It was spontaneous — like most of the things I did — and hadn't gone as planned. Also like most of the things I did ...
I'd intended to say hello, see what the fuss was about, and be on my way. If I could talk to her, see that she was no big deal, I could stop the insanity and move the hell on with my existence. But the chemistry between us had been explosive and we'd hooked up. It'd been crazy and mind blowing — and I couldn't live with that. Couldn't be tied to that. Naturally, I did what I always did when it came to relationships.
I picked it apart and found all the ways that she was wrong for me.
Whenever I started to waffle, I sought her out. The end result was always the same. Cade was right about that. The universe had designed us with some insane pull toward each other, but it was physical and nothing more. Just some kind of ramped-up freaky pheromone thing. I'd proved that time and time again by walking away.
I stuffed my hands into the pockets of my coat and slowed as a familiar sensation crept up my leg. "You've gotta be kidding me ..." The cuff heated — only this time the skip was nearly instant.
I was standing at the edge of the park, same as I'd been a second ago, only now there was a tall wrought-iron fence where the crumbling rock wall had been. Just beyond the fence, movement caught my attention. I stepped up, squinting against the growing darkness. It took a minute for my vision to acclimate, but when it did, I saw him. "Bastard ..."
I stepped back and leaped at the fence, grabbing hold and wedging my foot into the curling design. Several less than graceful moves and I was over the side and hitting the ground.
Dylan saw me and grinned. With a flip of his finger, he took off toward the woods and disappeared into the foliage.
Feet relentlessly pounding the earth, I raced across the field and darted for the trees. I remember the large branches overhead blotting out what little light remained, and the thunder of my heartbeat echoing inside my head. There was a cocky laugh and a rustle of material, then everything went dark.
I tugged my jacket just a bit tighter and pulled the sleeves down over my fingers. The faint scent of the buttery leather was comforting — which was something I needed. There was a very real chance I might vomit.
It was nearing November, and the bitter cold had come early this year. It kind of sucked since I was staying someplace sans electric. If tonight went badly, though, electricity would be the least of my problems.
I crushed the piles of dead leaves beneath my feet to stave off some of the silence. I'd come to the Doon to meet a guy — and not for recreational purposes — but he was late and I was starting to think he wouldn't show.
Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. I stomped my foot until all the leaves beneath me were reduced to crumbles. Next, I started picking at the loose thread at the hem of my shirt. It was stupid. This was one of my last good ones. Since getting booted from my home, and cut off financially from my surrogate family, I was running on fumes. A new wardrobe wasn't in the cards.
Thankfully — or, depending on how you looked at things, unthankfully — just when I was about to give up, the faint crunching of footsteps sliced through the silence.
"Ash?" someone whispered from the darkness. A few moments later, a familiar boy with brown hair and linebacker shoulders stepped into the moonlight. He stopped in the middle of the clearing and spun in a slow circle beside a large rock.
My heart hammered at light speed, and as I stepped out from behind the side of the tree, I had to remind myself to breathe. An insane moment of panic tempted me to step back into the shadows and run away as fast as my feet could carry me. But that wouldn't do me any good. I had to face this thing head on. I had one shot and this was it. "I'm here."
He made a move to come closer, but hesitated. It made sense. I was like a raging forest fire these days. Venture too close and you'd be incinerated. "It was a huge gamble calling me out, ya know?"
"I know, Corey." I swallowed the growing lump of fear that threatened to choke me.
Excerpted from "Omega"
Copyright © 2017 Jus Accardo.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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