The Hook: Windswept by Adam Rakunas

The Hook:
I was sitting at my usual stool at Big Lily’s, talking with Odd Dupree about his troubles down at the plant, when something big and stupid came crashing through the front door. Vytai Bloombeck’s head swiveled like a pumpkin mounted on a sack of compost as he scanned the faces of the regulars. I tried to duck beneath the ironpalm bar, but it was too late — he had zeroed in on me. “Padma!” he shouted, moving toward me like a runaway cargo can, “I got something, make us both righteously wealthy, like Jesus would want.” He shoved Odd to the side as he plopped into two chairs. Odd’s eyes rolled back into his head from the smell. Bloombeck’s job was to fish blockages out of the city’s sewer mains, a Contract slot he’d kept since Time Immemorial because no one was stupid or desperate enough to take it from him.

“Not even Jesus wants you, Bloomie,” I said, wincing at the stabbing pain in my right eye. My pai was supposed to float text warning me that Bloombeck was within one hundred meters, but, thanks to the vagaries of my brain chemistry and the implant’s firmware, the damn thing always gave me an electric jab in the retina after he’d shown up. I’d complained to every tech I know, and they all shrugged their shoulders and gave me the Santee Anchorage Song-And-Dance about how We Don’t Have The Proper Tech, We Don’t Make Enough To Care About Your Problem, Just Wait For The Next Bloody Update. The Oh-God-It’s-Bloomie warning squatted between a migraine and my period on the pain scale, and the only treatment that worked was avoiding him. “You want to talk to me, you make an appointment.”

Adam Rakunas writes:

I started writing this book in a bar, so it made sense to start the book *in* a bar. Bars are places for forgetting, for resting, for *waiting*, and Padma Mehta, the heroine of Windswept, is waiting for a lot of things: to retire, to cinch the deal of her life, to get out of the rat race. In the meantime, she is sitting at her favorite spot in Big Lily’s, watching out the lanai as the city rolls away toward the ocean. This spot is important to her because it offers a mixture of security and respite; the instant she sits down in that stool, she has a little bit of control over the chaos that surrounds her.

Of course, it’s not perfect, or else someone like Vytai Bloombeck, the neighborhood con artist, wouldn’t be able to enter the bar and try his pitch on Padma. On Santee Anchorage, everyone has to hustle, and Padma’s no different. Her hustle is on a much grander scale than Bloombeck’s, but it still means she has to bribe, lie, and fight to get what she wants: an early pension and a sweet bonus if she recruits five hundred people to the Union. She won’t listen to Bloombeck now, but, when her plans collapse, she’ll have no choice.

Buy Windswept on Amazon.

About the author:

Adam Rakunas is the author of Windswept and its forthcoming sequel. He’s a stay-at-home dad, an amateur cellist, and a small-time political rabble-rouser. You can find him at or on Twitter @rakdaddy. He also wants you to know that Jessica Smith did the amazing cover art, and you can find her work at


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