Eve Vaughn, Romance Author

The Factory

The Factory

Read an Excerpt
part of the Children of the Dust anthology
Children of the Dust, Book 2
Changeling Press • 
Order eBook:Changeling Press • • ARe • • Fictionwise

Unlikely Heroes
Landing a job at Cryo Cor, the largest food manufacturer on the planet, is a dream come true for Sydney. But her dream job becomes a nightmare when she discovers a horrible secret about Cryo Cor’s products. Cryo Cor is processing Humans — as food!

Overnight Sydney becomes a wanted woman. She finds unexpected salvation in the form of a tall, dark, rugged stranger. Jack and his band of Freedom Fighters will stop at nothing to take down the alien threat to mankind. When Jack offers Sydney his protection, sparks immediately fly between these two headstrong people, but their arguments soon turn equally passionate lovemaking. They’ll have to work together to destroy the Cyrellian threat, and preserve the future of Earth.

Read an Excerpt

“How can you work for them, knowing they’re behind Bella’s disappearance? Or don’t you care?” Holly protested, raking her fingers through her thick auburn mane. Frustration radiated from her like an energy beam.

Sydney raised a brow at her friend, not interested in renewing this topic yet again. Since she’d accepted the position at Cryo Cor as a financial analyst, her friend’s complaints had been non-stop. “I’m not going to give up this wonderful opportunity just because you have a grudge against the Cyrellians. And what’s your deal anyway? Even before Bella went missing, you were acting paranoid. I think you need a serious vacation. Are you by any chance implying I’m not as upset about our friend being missing as you are?”

Holly shrugged. “I think I pretty much came out and said it. What kind of friend are you?”

Hurt that Holly could have such a low opinion of her, Sydney turned her back toward the angry woman. Not a day went by when she didn’t think about Bella and where she could be. “If that’s how you feel, I can’t see why you’ve bothered to visit. Maybe it’s best if you left. I don’t have the energy or the time to go back and forth with you on this matter. My head is throbbing and I need to get up early in the morning.”

Sydney walked to the door and opened it, emphasizing her point. As painful as it was to end the evening on this note, she simply didn’t want to hear it anymore.

Holly opened her mouth as if to speak, but then closed it again. Instead, she took a deep breath. “I’m sorry,” she muttered. “It wasn’t my intention to start an argument. I know you care about Bella, but I wish you’d show it sometimes.”

Not one to hold a grudge, she gave Holly a half smile, accepting the apology. “It’s all right. I’ve never been the emotional type.” Goodness knows, showing how she truly felt about things had been frowned upon when she was younger. Being raised by parents who treated her as an afterthought had done that to her. Sydney wished she knew how to express herself as passionately as Holly, but her most tender feelings she kept within, still fearful of being judged and made to feel inadequate.

“True, but I had no right to say what I did. It was uncalled for. It’s just… I’m scared we’ll never see her again. It’s almost as if she’s vanished into thin air.” Tears filled light brown eyes as Holly’s bottom lip began to quiver.

Unable to see her friend suffer without offering any comfort, Sydney closed the door gently behind her and strode across the room. Engulfing Holly within her embrace, she cradled and rocked her back and forth.

The redhead broke into loud sobs. “I think she might be dead and the last time we spoke, angry words were exchanged. I’d do anything to have her back, and to tell her how much I love her. I realize I can be a bit overprotective at times because of her disability, but it was only because I cared.”

Sydney stroked the back of Holly’s head. “I’m sure Bella knows how you feel. And she and I have been putting up with you for years. Besides, we can’t give up hope. Even though we’ve seen no signs of her, nothing concrete points to foul play yet. For now, I have to believe she’s all right. Our Bella is a fighter and you’ll have to give her credit for that.”

Holly raised her head with tear-filled eyes. “Do you really think so… that she’s safe, I mean?”

Sydney brushed away the wet tracks from Holly’s face. “Yes. I know it sounds strange, but I feel in my heart she’s alive. Believe it or not, I think about her too. And I do pound the pavement and ask people if they’ve seen her. Granted, I may not have devoted as much of my time with it as you have, but I haven’t forgotten her nor do I intend to.”

Holly’s mouth gaped open. “Why haven’t you ever said anything?”

“I didn’t think it was necessary. Surely you couldn’t have believed I’d do nothing?”

“But I said such mean things to you. You let me throw unfounded accusations at your head.”

“We all say stuff in the heat of the moment we don’t mean. You’ve apologized and I’ve accepted, so it’s done. Don’t worry, sweetie, we’ll find her.”

“I pray we do. Look, Syd, at the risk of harping on the same issue, would you at least consider what I’ve said about Cryo Cor?”

Sydney pulled away from Holly and leaned against the closest wall with a heavy sigh. “I’m starting my new position tomorrow. Besides, if I wanted to change my mind about it, I would have in the weeks it’s taken for my clearance to finally go through.”

“That’s another thing. Why do you have to go through such an extensive background check before you can officially begin your job? I mean, you’ll only be working in the finance department, not around the food. That seems kind of shady to me.”

“They’re very selective about who they hire.”

“But it took two months. You’d think they’d have contacted you sooner than last week.”

“I’m sure they only want to make sure I’m a trustworthy employee. Besides, it’s possible I could come in contact with their recipes and they want to make sure I’m not the type of person who would sell their secrets to a competitor.”

“But —”

Sydney held up her hand. “You accuse me of not being a good friend, but I can say the same for you. While I’m going to do what I have to for my own good with or without your consent, your support would be appreciated.”

“There’s something wrong with their food. It’s making people sick.”

“How would you know? You don’t eat any of their products.”

“I did once, and something seemed off. Besides, I’ve heard things.”

“You’re starting to sound like one of those renegades. Didn’t you learn your lesson when one of these nuts blew up the clinic while you were only a few feet away from it? You could have been killed.”

“But I wasn’t.” Holly nibbled on her bottom lip. “I wonder what happened to him.” She got that far-off look in her eyes, the same one that appeared whenever she referred to the incident. Sydney never pressed for the full story, but she deduced something else must have happened. Otherwise, why else would Holly clam up when her encounter with the renegade was mentioned?

“You never fully disclosed what went on between you and that guy.”

Holly furrowed her brows together, turning her lips down into a slight frown. “There’s not much to tell. He blew up the building and… let’s just say he didn’t stick around long enough to witness the aftermath…”