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Acknowledgements


Before you jump into the next adventure, please allow me to thank Becca Andre and Kendra Highley for reviewing early versions of this. More thanks go to Shelley Holloway for editing services and to Glendon Haddix for the cover art. Lastly, thank you, good reader, for trying the first novel and coming back for more. This book would not have been written if not for you.


CHAPTER 1


The clanging of the alarm bell reverberated through the aqueduct tunnels. Marl “Books” Mugdildor squished along the slippery ledge as quickly as the footing allowed. It was a long, twisty walk to Pumping Station Five’s Intake Duct Number Nine.

How about you speed it up, Booksie?” his comrade asked. “It’d be nice to figure out what’s blocking up the tunnel before piles of city workers come down to check on the alarm and realize wanted men are hiding out in their pumping house.”

Books glared over his shoulder. Of course Maldynado had no trouble with the treacherous footing. He was younger, stronger, more agile, and—according to the women—the most gorgeous human being in the city. Not that the latter offered an advantage in navigating aqueducts, but it added to Books’s overall annoyance with the man.

Do you want to go ahead?” Books asked.

Gladly.” Maldynado planted a hand on Books’s shoulder and mashed him against the wall to pass.

Books dropped his kerosene lantern and nearly lost an important appendage when Maldynado’s sword hilt grazed him. “Blundering troglodyte,” he muttered.

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