Seventeen year-old Pon Devrier is one of the best thieves on her planet ---even though she doesn’t particularly approve of stealing. She spends her days collecting money to give to the poorest people in her Sector, and her nights sabotaging the Galactic Empire, but she’s still hesitant to become overly involved in the Rebellion her friends support. After all, both sides have already shed more than enough blood with the war that’s tearing their Galaxy apart.
But Pon soon finds herself engaged in a more personal war when her childhood foe, Cose, reappears in her life and is readily accepted by her friends. Pon can’t find proof Cose is a liar sent to infiltrate the Rebellion, but Cose’s ability to control minds is shared by only one other person in the Galaxy: the Empress.
Amidst the chaos Cose has brought to her life, Pon is chosen to have a private audience with the Empress during a photo-op interplanetary tour. Pon is glad to bring her planet’s grievances to the Empress, but instead she finds that the whole thing’s a ruse and is interrogated for information on the Rebellion. With Cose watching from the sidelines, and the girl’s relationship with the Empress still unclear, Pon is thrust into her Galaxy’s Civil War, and will have to decide if freedom is something worth dying – or killing – for.
This was taking too long. Pon paced around the narrow alley, counting the seconds that trickled by as she waited for the signal. Two small flashes of light were all she needed, but as time stretched on the unbroken darkness taunted her.
They shouldn’t have tried to do this tonight, but once Jorl set his mind to something, he couldn’t be talked out of it. The Empress’s announcement would provide them with a decent distraction, but that was only if they could get into the Aquifer in time. If they started too late, they probably wouldn’t live to see the end of whatever surprise Empress Letienne planned to unleash on the Galaxy tonight.
Pon glanced up at the second window on the second floor. Still nothing. Stars Above, what was taking him so long? She should have been the one to break into the Aquifer – she was quicker and way better at sneaking around. He was too clumsy. He could get hurt.
“What’re you doing here?” The guard’s voice broke through the silence as his hand tried to break her nose. She grabbed his hand, twisting it around his back and shoving him against the wall.
Rius stepped out from behind the corner, knocking the guard out with the hilt of his sword. Pon let the guard fall to the ground, focusing on Rius’s light brown eyes. They shone in the moonlight, sending a wave of warmth through her body. She fought the urge to run her hands through his dark brown hair. Friends didn’t run hands through each other’s hair.
“I could’ve taken care of him myself,” Pon stepped closer to Rius, keeping her hands firmly at her side. He’d freak out if she threw herself at him, but she was getting dangerously close to not caring.
“I don’t doubt it,” Rius winked, grabbing her hand. “I hope you’ll forgive me for helping you.”
“I think I’d like to stay mad for a little bit longer.”
“What can I do to make it up to you?” His lips brushed the top of her hand and her heart beat faster than a ship at warp speed.
“You can let me knock out the guard next time.”
“Deal.” Rius’s smile was even better in the moonlight.