Lex De Mortuis Excerpt

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Division Zero: Lex De Mortuis, by Matthew Cox
Genre: Cyberpunk, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Science Fiction
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: September 8, 2014
Cover Artist: Alexandria Thompson at Gothic Fate (http://gothicfate.com/)

Description:

Some soldiers don’t let anything sway them from their mission, not even death from high explosives.

Free from her troubled past, Agent Kirsten Wren finds happiness mentoring Evan, a boy with similar talents with whom she soon forms a strong bond. Her efforts to help Dorian settle his past become complicated when a team of corporate “issue resolution consultants” continue their mission to kill a man in the afterlife.

Kirsten gets involved when their postmortem grudge match spills into the realm of the living. At the scene of a surgical explosion that gutted only one floor of a residential tower, she discovers a strange arcane circle drawn in silver. There, she senses energy darker than any wraith she has yet encountered; a force that questions everything she believes about the world.

Vikram Medhi, the hacker targeted by Lyris Corporation for elimination, begs her to protect him from undead out to destroy him. With no way to track these spirits, she seeks help from an enigmatic billionaire who offers her more than a simple translation of ancient Sumerian pictographs.

Chasing down a dangerous psionic criminal in the oldest lawless zone in the city, trying to protect a man on a corporate death list, and trying to keep both of them from hurting the one person in the world she loves, Kirsten must reach deep within herself to accept her destiny.

About Matthew Cox:

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Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.

Hobbies and Interests: Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. He is also fond of cats.

Find Matthew Cox Online:
Website (http://www.matthewcoxbooks.com/wordpress/)
Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MatthewSCoxAuthor)
Twitter (https://twitter.com/mscox_fiction)
Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7712730.Matthew_S_Cox)

Excerpt- Chapter 3
She watched his blur slide over the toe of her silver shoes as he went for the door without looking back. Warmth came to her face as she bristled with yet another rejection. Why do people hate us so much? I did not choose to be born this way. She could pick into his brain, find some embarrassing tidbit and scream it at the room to get him back for how he made her feel. No, that would prove him right. That was what they were all afraid of―no secrets.
The host gave her departing date a strange frown, and looked in her direction. He appeared to be paying particular attention to Kirsten’s half-empty wine glass. By the time he arrived at the side of the table, she had her ID out.
“I’m twenty-two, and a cop.”
He bowed. “My apologies, miss. You―”
“Have a young face, yeah… I know. Is it too late to cancel one entrée?”
After a glance at his datapad, a pained grimace. “I’m afraid your meals are already being plated.”
Of course. Now I have two dinners I don’t want to eat.
“Can you please just wrap it to go?”
The man drew a breath, shifting side to side. “Our presentation is exquisite, miss. Our food does not travel well and we would rather not sully our reputation with a substandard experience. We are not a take-out establishment. If―”
“Fine, whatever.” Kirsten lacked the energy to get angry at his fluffed-up offense. “I need to use the bathroom.”
He bowed, backing away as she stood. She wobbled halfway across the dining area, firm in her regret about wearing high-heeled shoes. Most of the room watched her rendition of an ostrich on ice, trying to balance on the alien torture devices. Humiliation piled on top of indignation and depression, a three-way wrestling match to determine how she felt at being dumped again. The added weight was too much for the ungainly footwear, and she wound up on the floor.
The dining public turned away, affording her a tiny bit of reclaimed dignity. Anger swirled, and she tugged the straps off her ankles and stood, barefoot, with the damnable things tucked under her arm. The frosted glass door to the ladies’ room slid out of her way, and once inside the protective shell of a private area, tears came out in force. Before anyone else could find her, she ducked into a stall and locked the door.
A few minutes later, the sobbing passed. She looked up from mascara-covered hands at the impressionistic watercolor beach painted on the partition, wondering if anyone heard her. A few deep breaths helped regain her composure, and she got up and went to the sinks. The autoflush startled a shriek out of her. Mascara dabbed away, she glared at herself in the mirror.
“Screw him. I don’t need an idiot like that.” A few passes of her fingers got her hair back to rights. There was no need to replace the eyeliner. “Someday I’ll―”
A familiar smell, flannel and cheap cologne.
“Dad?”
His face came through the door with a tentative peek. Seeing no one else inside, and his daughter decent, he walked up to her and put an arm through her.
“Oh, dammit.” She closed her eyes, and made herself solid to ghosts. “You are still around…”
Her father rubbed her back. “Are you okay, hon?”
“Nothing I haven’t been through already.” She dabbed at the corners of her eyes with the towel. “I don’t give a crap about him. It’s just…” Kirsten leaned both hands on the counter, staring down at her toes. “…I’m so tired of being hated for what I am. I didn’t ask to be different.”
“You’ll find someone, and I’ll be here for you until you do.”
She hugged him, letting his presence dispel her building self-pity. For a few minutes, she lost herself in his company. If I was normal, he would not have run away from me, spent so much time traveling. Just as self-pity tainted the moment, the faint chirp of the outer door made her stand upright. She held his hand, attempting not to look too strange as two women entered. She fumbled at the sink, hoping they did not notice her holding thin air. They paid her no attention and went toward the back stalls. She gathered her shoes, purse, and father, and padded back to the table.
The food had arrived in her absence. She fell into the round white cushion of her seat, dumped the shoes unceremoniously in a heap, and smirked at the orecchiette pasta dish she had, up until a few minutes ago, thought looked amazing. She picked at it while her father sat in the abandoned chair on the other side.
“What the devil did that idiot order?”
She shrugged. “No idea, something with little squid. Sorry I gave you a hard time about the PubTran.”
“It’s all right, I’m not going anywhere till you don’t need me anymore.” He glanced at the door. “Why don’t you call that Templeton fellow? He didn’t seem very worried about your gift.”
A few people turned to look at her sudden bout of coughing. Most attributed the redness on her face to issues involving lack of air. The host returned to check on her. She nodded and waved him off.
“Dad… he’s… just…”
“What?”
She wiped her chin. “I dunno, a little… old. He’s thirty-six.”
Her father laughed. “You looked at his file?”
Now Kirsten could not maintain eye contact. “No… Yes… but, he showed me his ID, I already knew.” Her eyes lifted until she pouted at him. “You don’t have to linger if you don’t want to.”
“Nonsense, hon. It’s the least I can do.” He reached across the table, squeezing her hand as soon as she made herself tangible again. “No guilt, Kirsten. You’re not keeping me here. I want to be here for you.”
“I should have tried to call you, but I was afraid of Mom.”
“Shame about that Dorian fellow.”
She stared at her toes, finding them far less mesmerizing than a silver shoe. “Yeah… I” ―she waved at the waiter―“You just gave me an idea.”

You can find this book online at
Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20360057-les-de-mortuis)
Amazon US (http://amzn.com/B00NE7E04I)
Amazon UK (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NE7E04I)
Barnes & Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/division-zero-matthew-s-cox/1120339351?ean=9781620076033)

Happy Reading!
~CC

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